Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase
|Class 2, Cheltenham 12:55
3m 6f 37y
|Friday 11th November 2016|
1 Astracad 100/30F
2 Ericht 9/2
3 Realt Mor 4/1
NR: Shuil Royale (IRE)
9 ran Distances: 1½l, 7l, 16l
TIME 5m 8.30s (slow by 10.30s)
The well backed Astracad wins for Nigel Twiston-Davies
Astracad rolled back the years and posted his first success at Cheltenham since December 2011 when landing the Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase this afternoon.
The 10-year-old was always travelling powerfully for jockey Jamie Bargary and the pair sauntered clear up the hill to justify 10/3 favouritism by a length and a half from the 9/2 runner-up Ericht.
This was Astracad's 24th racecourse start at Prestbury Park and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies (who also owns the gelding) was delighted with the performance shortly after the race.
"That's given me a lot of pleasure," said the trainer.
"It brings back memories of poor old Raymond Mould, who used to own him (Mould died in September 2015). When they began to sell all of his horses, I bought this one back so it's lovely that he's won but it's tinged with sadness.
"I bought him back (for £12,000) because I couldn't really bear to let him go. I'm delighted I did as he's won more now than I paid for him. He's always been very brave and done his best but the handicapper has clobbered him for it. He's given him a bit of a chance here though and he's taken advantage of it. He's a lovely horse and has been all his life. I thought he'd need the run though!"
Jockey Jamie Bargary was also happy with Astracad following their victory.
"Luckily for me, Nigel bought Astracad back after Mr Mould unfortunately passed away," said the jockey.
"I was in last night washing him off because I am mad about the horse and I am just delighted he has won around Cheltenham again for us. I was left on my own in front and I didn't want to be there because he pricks his ears. But when anything came to me he just took off again. He was brave over the second last and clever over the last. He has done it well. I got there a little bit sooner than I wanted as Richard Johnson's horse (Dunraven Storm) kept making mistakes but he's dug really deep over the last couple of fences. He's really genuine, a lovely all round horse, a real gentleman.
"The ground really suited my horse. It's on the soft side of good I'd say, a little bit dead maybe, but it felt lovely. The ground was exactly the same as it was when he won at Chepstow last season. I'm really enjoying my riding at the moment. I had a lovely winner at Huntingdon the other day and one at Bangor as well."
"That was my 43rd winner in all. I'm only two behind my total for the whole of last year now (16) so I'm having a brilliant season - I'm delighted with how things are going."
Ericht was filling the runner-up spot for the second time within eight days.
The 10-year-old's trainer, Nicky Henderson, said: "He's run a great race.
"It was bad luck for him because this race was a late replacement for the Cross Country [which has been moved to Festival Trials Day in late January] - he actually ran at Newbury last week when we didn't know that this veterans' race was going to take place, so we might give him a couple of weeks off now!"
9/2 chance Ericht, owned by Bridget Hanbury, finished a length and a half behind the winner, Astracad, the 100/30 favourite. It was his 12th run at the course and his best Cheltenham placing to date.
He was ridden by Nico de Boinville, who said: "He's jumped well, travelled well and finished his race - I think that was a good performance."
A further seven lengths behind in third was the Gordon Elliott-trained Realt Mor. Jockey Davy Russell said: "It was a smashing run; we're delighted with him."
Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase
£25,000 added, 10yo plus, 2m 4f 78y, Class 2
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Astracad (FR) 10/3f||Jamie Bargary (3)
|N A Twiston-Davies||10|
|2nd||1½||Ericht (IRE) 9/2||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson||10|
|3rd||7||Realt Mor (IRE) 4/1||D N Russell
|4th||16||Cody Wyoming 14/1||G Sheehan
|C J Mann||10|
|5th||13||Dunraven Storm (IRE) 8/1||R Johnson
|P J Hobbs||11|
|6th||5||Notarfbad (IRE) 25/1||Matt Griffiths
|7th||7||Danimix (IRE) 9/1||T Scudamore
|N P Mulholland||11|
|8th||24||Bennys Mist (IRE) 12/1||Charlie Deutsch (5)
|Miss V Williams||10|
|PU||Eastlake (IRE) 8/1||B J Geraghty
|NR||Shuil Royale (IRE) 4/1||N D Fehily