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Cheltenham

  • 13:05 Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices' Chase 2m 5f

  • (Registered As The Dipper Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) £25,000 added 5yo+ 6 ran
  • Winner £14,238 2nd £5,342 3rd £2,675 4th £1,332
  • Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 17.40s
  • Off time: 13:05:28

Full result

13:05 Cheltenham Result 1st January 2012
Pos Draw Dist Horse Weight Jockey Trainer Age SP
1st Champion Court (IRE) 11-4 A P Cawley M Keighley 7 6/1
Made all, jumped slightly right, ridden approaching 2 out, pressed last, stayed on well, in command final 75 yards opened 7/1 touched 7/1
2nd Solix (FR) 11-7 B J Geraghty N J Henderson 6 5/1
Tracked leaders, not fluent 1st, left 2nd 4 out, closed from 2 out, every chance last, stayed on, no impression on winner final 75 yards opened 9/2 touched 5/1
3rd 8 Invictus (IRE) 11-4 W Hutchinson A King 6 10/3
Tracked leaders, not fluent 8th or 11th, left 3rd 4 out, ridden approaching 2 out, beaten when mistake last opened 11/4 touched 10/3
4th 15 Saint Are (FR) 11-0 R Johnson Tim Vaughan 6 16/1
Tracked winner, hit 8th, hit 4 out and slithered on landing, not recover and well beaten after opened 16/1 touched 16/1
5th 15 Sonofvic (IRE) 11-0 R Walsh P F Nicholls 7 6/5f
Held up, not fluent 6th or 7th, hit 8th and 11th, 5 lengths off winner in 5th when mistake 4 out, slipped soon after fence and bumped into rival, jockey nearly unseated, great recovery, not recover and well beaten after opened 6/4 touched 6/4
6th 53 Sybarite (FR) 11-0 S Twiston-Davies N A Twiston-Davies 6 33/1
Chasing leaders when jumped slowly 1st, dropped rear when jumoed slowly again next, reminder after 7th, lost touch from next, tailed off opened 33/1 touched 33/1

Betting breakdown

Tote Win: £6.20 Tote Place: £3.10,2.30
Straight Forecast: £32.16 Exacta: £25.70 Swingers: 1&2:3.30 2&3:2.60 1&3:2.80

Jackpot: £24,106.92 carried forward to Southwell, 2nd Jan
Placepot: £1,125.10, Pool: £166821.8, 108.23 winning tickets
Quadpot: £94.40, Pool: £14709.13, 115.3 winning tickets

Verdict

A very tidy performance from CHAMPION COURT who jumped from fence to fence and saw off a very useful runner-up in Solix, albeit receiving weight from that runner. Trainer Martin Keighley and jockey Alan Cawley obviously had a plan, and it worked to perfection as the horse was sent into an early lead, was presented well at each fence and had several of his rivals in trouble before the downhill run. Whilst Invictus and Solix tried to keep tabs on him, Cawley was able to keep the momentum going to the final fence where he saw another good stride and, despite hanging slightly up the run-in, was comfortably on top at the line. He had looked to have a little to find on the formbook this year, so it might not be worth getting too carried away but if he is able to dominate again then he won't be an easy horse to peg back, whether that's in the Jewson or a handicap. Runner-up Solix is learning with each chase start and lost little caste in defeat, as he was giving 3lb to the winner. He jumped quite smartly here, and seems to be getting the hang of fencing, especially impressive when asked for a big jump by Barry Geraghty. He was certainly close enough turning in, but couldn't quite overhaul the winner. He was clear of the third, and looks an obvious Jewson contender as his fencing might be put under too much strain in a race like the Arkle. Invictus was keen enough early on and that probably paid late in the day as he weakened quite quickly up the hill. Aintree may suit him better than Cheltenham, although it's too early too say that for sure. The disappointment of the race was Sonofvic who was made to look slow and pedestrian, both on the flat and over his fences. He's really a three miler who seems like he wants a flattish track so there were several points against him; he's worth another chance under more suitable conditions. A credit note goes to Ruby Walsh who kept the partnership intact when almost unseated after the fourth-last fence. It was at that obstacle that Saint Are's chance went as he made a real hash of it, whilst Sybarite was out-classed throughout.