Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Chase
|Handicap, Doncaster 15:15
3m 2f 1y, Class 2
1 Moroder 18/1
2 Undersupervision 3/1
3 Windsor Avenue 8/1
7 ran NR: Does He Know Distances: nk, 10l, 13l
Time: 6m 23.57s (fast by 2.43s)
The Seamus Mullins-trained Moroder strung a four-race winning run together last season but had failed to figure in two outings so far this term.
It was the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Undersupervision who looked the most likely victor when jockey Sam Twiston-Davies kicked for home as the runners came round the final bend.
However, as the action unfolded up the straight – and the stamina reserves of the challengers started to run empty – the eye was drawn to the white noseband of Moroder who was keeping on in the hands of James Best.
Having joined Undersupervision approaching two out, Moroder knuckled down gamely on the run in to outstay the 3-1 runner-up, with only a neck separating the pair at the finish of the £70,000 event.
As well as being a big Saturday winner for his trainer, it was also a welcome success on the big stage for Best, who was not lacking for strength in the saddle when the race was in the balance in the closing stages.
Mullins said: “He had an injury in the autumn which curtailed his campaign and he probably needed the comeback run, as he always does, at Newbury and then we had the frosty weather. He’s a big, gross kind of horse and I’m not a big fan of taking them off for racecourse gallops and things.
“We try to get them ready at home and he probably had come on a lot for his Wincanton run and we thought we had a live chance. We knew we weren’t deserving the long odds that he went off at. He’s a great stayer, a galloper, jumps accurately and he did well today because it would have been plenty quick enough for him, but he seemed to chop with it well.”
The Town Moor contest often serves as a Grand National trial, but not amongst the entrants for Aintree, the winner holds a Midlands National entry and Betfair and Paddy Power both go 20-1 from 50s for that Uttoxeter event on March 18, although Mullins expressed doubts about that contest.
He added: “It might come a bit quick after today.
“We will have a sit down with the owner and it was kind of more desperation really to find a race where we could run, the way it was going. I would say probably less likely than likely to go to Uttoxeter.
“We will probably look for later in the spring, I will have to discuss it with the owner. Anything from three miles up, I might even think of the Scottish National or something like that. That could be more his line than Uttoxeter.”
Mullins was not at Doncaster, instead saddling a runner at Newbury and relying on his son to take care of operations in South Yorkshire.
He said: “My son did all the officiating up at Doncaster today, he took a day off his holiday to go and saddle him and help me out.”
Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap)
£70,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 3m 2f 1y, Class 2
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Moroder 9 10-2 Seamus Mullins James Best 18/1
2 nk Undersupervision 7 10-3 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies 3/1
3 10 Windsor Avenue 11 10-11 Brian Ellison Ross Chapman 8/1
4 13 Castle Robin 8 10-9 Charlie Longsdon Brian Hughes 100/30
5 nk Sporting John 8 10-12 Philip Hobbs Aidan Coleman 9/1
6 6½ Cooper's Cross 8 10-4 Stuart Coltherd Sam Coltherd 15/8F
7 ½ Neville's Cross 8 10-5 Tom Lacey Robert Dunne 25/1
NR 1 Does He Know 8 12-0 Kim Bailey NON RUNNER