Peerless Nina steers Josies Orders to another impressive victory
Nina Carberry steered Josies Orders to his second Cheltenham victory in the space of a month in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase yesterday.
Having won on his debut at Prestbury Park at the Open meeting in November, Enda Bolger's seven-year-old was once again prominent in the market at 11/4 and was always travelling strongly under a typically confident Carberry ride.
The JP McManus-owned gelding moved considerably closer to the lead after jumping the third fence from the finish and travelled ominously behind Sire Collonges and Ballyboker Bridge rounding the turn for home.
Sire Collonges held a narrow advantage jumping the last and did his best to make a race of it, but Josies Orders was too strong up the hill and passed the post two lengths to the good.
Course specialist Any Currency, sent off the 5/2 favourite after filling the runner-up spot to Josies Orders last month when considerably worse off at the weights, was under pressure a long way from home and never threatened to land a blow.
"I just let him do his own thing and he's starting to really enjoy it now," said Carberry.
"He's waiting for the next jump and waiting for the next turn. He always keeps a little bit for himself and stuck it out well. I'm delighted. Enda's done a great job with him."
Bolger said: "We're all wise afterwards - he must have been some certainty the last day!
"What can I say? Nina knows that track so well and took her time. We were afraid about Any Currency with the weights, but he (Josies Orders) is a pretty good horse and he's only seven, so hopefully we'll be able to keep coming back with him.
"JT McNamara recommended this horse to JP when he was a young horse and whatever JT says is never far from being right."
The victory further enhanced Bolger's already formidable record at the track.
Asked what makes his horses excel on the cross-country course, he added: " They have to be settled, they have to be relaxed and they have to enjoy it. Having Nina on board is a massive plus.
"We have great neighbours. We go through all the farms and it's not all about galloping. We take them to different places and try to keep them sweet. It's down to the neighbours we have, and the jockey and the owner.
"He'll be here in March and then on to Punchestown for the La Touche Cup."
Paddy Power makes Josies Orders the 11/4 favourite from 8/1 for the race of the same name at the Cheltenham Festival next spring.
Blaklion took the first steps to matching his impressive form over hurdles by opening his account his fencing account in the Harrison, James And Hardie Novices' Chase.
The dual Grade Two-winning hurdler made amends for his fall at the track 27 days ago when staying on to good effect in the extended three-mile-one-furlong prize.
Although left short of room rounding the home turn, the 3/1 shot saw his superior stamina kick in to defeat Onenightinvienna by two and three-quarter lengths.
Blaklion was introduced at 16/1 for the RSA Chase by Coral and Paddy Power, while William Hill trimmed him from 33/1 to 25/1.
Winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "He's a lovely horse. He jumped really well and it was great for Ryan (Hatch), who is without his 3lb claim.
"He got a bit boxed in round the bottom bend, but he had quite a bit left. He was quite sticky over the first few fences and maybe he was just remembering his fall from last time, but he really warmed into it.
"We definitely want to run him again before the Festival, where the obvious race is the RSA Chase. That is his main aim."
Talk of the Grand National entered the equation for the Venetia Williams-trained Aachen (12/1) following his impressive front-running success in the Ryman Stationery Handicap.
Despite being in the twilight of his career the admirable veteran was not for catching, coasting home by 17 lengths to give winning rider Charlie Deutsch his first victory of the season.
Dan Skelton is to aim high with North Hill Harvey following his telling triumph in the British Stallions Studs EBF National Hunt Novices Hurdle.