Coral Long Distance Hurdle
|Grade 2, Newbury 15:00
£60,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus,
3m 52y, Class 1
1 Dashel Drasher 2/1
2 Paisley Park 4/1
3 Flight Deck 20/1
6 ran Distances: hd, 1¾l, 3½l
Time: 6m 2.47s (slow by 11.47s)
Dashel Drasher fends of Paisley Park in another exhilarating renewal to take the @Coral Long Distance Hurdle 🏆— Newbury Racecourse (@NewburyRacing) December 1, 2023
🥇 Dashel Drasher
🥈 Paisley Park
🥉 Flight Deck
Huge congratulations to all winning connections 🤩@Rex_Dingle | Jeremy Scott pic.twitter.com/gcfBjvJ3zm
Dashel Drasher delivered a strong performance to secure victory, fending off the late challenge from Paisley Park in an exciting finish. The Stayers' Hurdle runner-up, ridden by Rex Dingle and trained by Jeremy Scott, entered the race as the 2-1 second favorite. Displaying significant improvement from his previous Wetherby reappearance, where he finished third in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, Dashel Drasher demonstrated resilience.
In the initial stages, Patrick Neville's Mahons Glory quickly established a substantial lead, while the remaining five runners maintained a close formation, patiently awaiting their opportunities. As the Grade Two event reached its critical phase, Flight Deck, a 20-1 shot, led the pack into the straight. However, Dashel Drasher made a decisive move, taking the lead by the time they approached the final flight.
Navigating the last hurdle with a narrow advantage, Dashel Drasher, guided by Dingle, maintained a strong pace towards the finish line. Tom Bellamy, on Paisley Park, launched a customary late surge, but despite the dwindling lead and the flashing red petrol tank, Dashel Drasher displayed remarkable determination. In a tight finish, he held off Paisley Park's challenge to secure victory by a head.
“I was worried to death when I saw Paisley Park there, because wasn’t he coming,” Scott told ITV Racing.
“It’s lovely to see the old boys going head-to-head and I thought Paisley Park ran a brilliant race there. A bit further and he might have done us. It was a great race to watch.
“You start to wonder whether Dashel Drasher had lost his spark. He was beaten so many times last year, but only into second, and you just think it must take its toll. You have to keep picking yourself up and go again.
“So, you do wonder whether or not he still had it and that fight, but he did fight today. It’s his kind of trademark and you are always terrified he might lose the trademark, but he keeps fighting, doesn’t he.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him and it’s lovely. It is such a roller-coaster ride having a horse as good as that and it’s just lovely to be a part of it.”
It was a case of history repeating itself for the connections of Paisley Park, who has competed in the race now for five straight years and came off second best in a similar ding-dong battle with Champ 12 months ago.
Trainer Emma Lavelle was magnanimous in defeat and was thrilled to see the fire still burns bright in her popular 11-year-old.
She said: “It was a great run, it was just so near, yet so far.
“He’s run fantastic and given away 6lb to the winner and done everything in typical Paisley style, he just clearly hasn’t learnt where the winning post is at Newbury.
“Tom has given him a brilliant ride and had Barry (Fenton) in one ear and Aidan (Coleman) in the other telling him how to ride, so he’s had plenty of instruction and he carried it out fantastically.
“He’s run in that race so many times and he’s won it once, but it was like deja vu from last year. I was delighted with him.”
Lavelle also confirmed Ascot’s Howden Long Walk Hurdle on December 23 would be up next for Paisley Park, with Coral making him a 5-1 chance to defend the title he won for a third time when the race was switched to Kempton last Christmas.
She added: “Ascot is the plan, he’s been there plenty before and as I’ve said all along, each race will stand in isolation and we will see what happens going forward.
“He definitely deserves a crack at that and he’s a star, he completely is, and it was brilliant to see the same Paisley back in action.”
Coral Long Distance Hurdle
£60,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 3m 52y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Dashel Drasher 10 11-2 Jeremy Scott Rex Dingle 2/1
2 hd Paisley Park 11 11-8 Emma Lavelle Tom Bellamy 4/1
3 1¾ Flight Deck 9 11-2 Deborah Cole Chris Ward 20/1
4 3½ Marie's Rock 8 11-1 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 6/5F
5 26 Mahons Glory 7 11-2 Patrick Neville Sam Twiston-Davies 80/1
PU Hugos New Horse 6 11-2 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 11/1