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Richard Forristal's Cheltenham day one race reads


John Codd gave Cause Of Causes an audacious ride to take the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

John Codd gave Cause Of Causes an audacious ride to take the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire


John Codd gave Cause Of Causes an audacious ride to take the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

1.30 Grade One Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2m 1f: This was as straightforward as expected for Douvan. He cruised through from mid-division under Ruby Walsh, and got an ideal tow into the straight from Sizing John.

He took over on the run to the last flight, pinged that and was ridden four-and-a-half lengths clear for a comprehensive victory.

Sizing John probably took it up under duress from the third-last. Being in front a little early might have cost him second but no more than that, and it was a fine effort all told. Shaneshill travelled nicely and kept on to be second, a display that he should now build on.

L'Ami Serge was hampered by Seedling's exit at the fourth. That didn't help and he ran an honest race to be fourth. Qewy stayed on to be fifth, while Tell Us More found little again after threatening down the hill. Alvisio Ville looked immature alongside some of these, so he is one for the future after finishing seventh.

2.05 Grade One Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase 2m

Un De Sceaux answered every question asked of him with a thoroughly professional display. He may have not have been able to get away from the field as expected or he may have settled better, but the end result was the same.

Measured at his fences when he needed to be, he found plenty when God's Own threatened at the last fence. He drew clear for a six-length win that confirmed his status as a two-mile chaser of tremendous potential.

God's Own emerged with credit in defeat, as he was the only one to keep Un De Sceaux honest in the straight. Vibrato Valtat wilted disappointingly down the hill after racing handily, while in contrast Josses Hill kept on. As expected, Josses Hill didn't fence as fluently as you need to at this level. He kept going to be third and might benefit from a step up in trip.

Court Minstrel and Sgt Reckless kept on from behind after jumping sloppily, as did Clarcam which never challenged.

2.40 Grade Three Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase 3m 1f

The Druids Nephew got a lovely ride from Barry Geraghty, who brought him through from the middle to challenge around the final bend. Grand Jesture, which raced handily, only gave best on the run to two-out.

His was a commendable effort, but the winner won with a bit to spare. Gallant Oscar travelled smoothly down the hill having raced in the rear early. While he was never close enough to lay down a challenge, he kept on to nab Indian Castle for third on the line.

Gevrey Chambertin never went a yard in the rear, while Annacotty paid for setting a strong pace.

3.20 Grade One Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy 2m 1f

The first thing to note is that Faugheen got an easy lead. He was absolutely superior in the end, but that Ruby Walsh would enjoy a freebie on a horse that had never been taken out of its comfort zone was surprising.

It's probably immaterial anyway, as Faugheen dominated in tremendous style. The only slight blip came when they put pressure on him two-out and he missed it completely, highlighting the folly of not getting him at it earlier.

Walsh kept him together and they quickened off the bend to put the race beyond doubt. Jezki had tracked him early on but found little for pressure after racing keenly. He missed the last again and was passed up the run in by Hurricane Fly for third.

The old warrior was bang there from two-out, benefiting from being ridden a little more patiently than has been the case here before. In his pomp he would have given the winner a race, but this confirmed that there is life in his legs yet.

Arctic Fire is at the other end of the spectrum. He came through from the rear and found plenty off the bridle, doubtless relishing the decent going. He has the capacity to keep improving. The New One had no excuses. He jumped right at times as he tends to do, but he simply wasn't good enough, getting tapped for toe from the third-last after sitting just off the leader early on.

4.00 Grade One OLBG David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle 2m 4f

Annie Power's crashing fall at the final flight changed the outcome completely. She had settled especially well and was in the process of putting the race to bed with consummate ease, only to step at the hurdle and pay the ultimate price.

It was simply one of those things. Glens Melody looked booked for a gallant second again, before and even after the fall. She had tracked Annie Power's every move, but Polly Peachum threatened a smash and grab up the hill.

Credit to Glens Melody, though, she held on grimly by a head. Bitofapuzzle raced keenly in the lead, and she rallied to be beaten just a neck for second in a pretty desperate finish.

4.40 Toby Balding National Hunt Challenge Chase (Amateur riders) 4m

Jamie Codd gave Cause Of Causes an audacious ride, reminiscent of Davy Russell's performance on Lord Windermere 12 months ago. Last and almost detached early on, he waited for the race to unfold in front of him.

He challenged up the inside turning in, which was a brave move given that they had to go around the last fence following an early casualty. Crucially, he had the horse to do it, Cause Of Causes galloping all the way to the line to fend off Broadway Buffalo, which had also emerged from the pack.

Return Spring and Perfect Candidate combined to set a sedate early gallop, and Perfect Gentleman found himself taking Patrick Mullins to the lead with a circuit to go. They were impeded slightly going around the last but ran their race in fourth.

While The Job Is Right didn't jump as fluently as he might have done on drier-than-ideal ground, he ran a fine race to be third. Very Wood was disappointing, failing to ever land a blow. He is inconsistent.

5.15 CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 4f

Horizontal Speed set the early fractions from Stellar Notion, Little Jon and Dromnea, while Golden Hoof fell at the first when in rear. Credit to Horizontal Speed, he still led over the last before finally fading up the hill.

Paul Townend gave Irish Cavalier a fine steer. He still had eight in front of him turning in but you could have thrown a blanket over them at that stage.

Little Jon hit the last, and, with Horizontal Speed slowly tiring, it was set up for something coming from behind.

Thomas Crapper also emerged with a telling challenge but he didn't have the winner's gears. Generous Ransom came through from the middle for a game third, while Leap Dearg made mistakes under a patient ride on the inner. Neither he nor Dromnea get home in the end.

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