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Monet's still true master

Monet's Garden rolled back the years with a vintage masterclass of jumping in the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

The grey scored in this race in 2007 but had not made his mark in top-flight company since April of that year when winning the Melling Chase at Aintree.

Nicky Richards' gallant 12-year-old finished midfield here in November but fared much better after a 91-day break and he soon shook off the attentions of Herecomesthetruth over the first couple of fences.

Barry Geraghty's mount ground his rivals into submission to have matters sewn up before the turn for home.

The 11-2 chance was still going strong as he crossed the line a length and a half clear of Albertas Run, with The Sawyer finishing well for third.

Richards said: "Barry and him get a great tune from each other and any jockey would be happy sitting on top of him singing a song and enjoying it.


"He is now into the veteran stage so he will tell us when he is ready to run again. There is Aintree or we could wait until Perth in the spring.

"All being well, and if he is fit, we will be back here again next year."

Menorah, meanwhile, is still on course for Cheltenham despite suffering a shock defeat in the Lomax "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.

Trainer Philip Hobbs felt the race was not run to suit the 1-2 shot, who is going to take on hot-pot Dunguib in the Spinal Research Supreme Novices' Hurdle on March 16.

"He's perfectly OK. It was disappointing, rather the same happened when he got beat at Doncaster," said Hobbs.

"There was no pace. He got left in front and that probably doesn't suit him."

Menorah was pushed out to 12-1 from 8-1 following his length-and-three-quarters reverse to Lush Life.

Hobbs reported Planet Of Sound virtually none the worse for his crashing fall in the Betfair Ascot Chase.

"He's fine except for a slight bruise on his left eye. That's all he's got," the Minehead handler added.

"That's fortunate and he'll end up going straight to the Ryanair."

Planet Of Sound is now a top-priced 12-1, having been around 9s, for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on March 18.

George Charlton is looking forward to running Knockara Beau in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham after the gelding put up a brave effort in the Reynoldstown Chase.

The seven-year-old was only beaten four lengths by odds-on favourite Burton Port despite only having three shoes for most of the race.

"He pulled a plate off and he was a bit sore behind when he pulled up," said the Northumberland trainer.

"He wasn't jumping like his normal self. He lost his confidence.

"The ground was a bit slippy, I think frost was still coming out of the ground.

"He's fine -- there are no lasting problems -- and we'll get the shoe sorted out.

"At the end of the day, the winner (Burton Port) is rated 158 and we are rated 147 and we were only four lengths behind him.

"Had our horse jumped properly, things would have been different.

"We will just have to keep trying. He will still go to Cheltenham. That was the plan from the start and that's where we'll go."

Knockara Beau is available at 40-1 for the RSA Chase on March 17.