Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Frost thrilled with Somersby

Somersby has a fighting chance of claiming top honours in today's Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

Henrietta Knight deserves another classy chaser and this gorgeous-looking six-year-old can use this race as a springboard to greater heights.

The Wantage handler was a feature at one time in this event, winning it in 2000 with the brilliant Best Mate, the teak-tough Edredon Bleu in 2002 and 2003, and Impek in 2006.

It looks the perfect starting point for Somersby, which showed immense promise on his first two starts over fences last season.

He ran a screamer in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy, flying at the finish and just failing to catch Henry de Bromhead's Sizing Europe.

By the time Aintree came around he looked to have gone over the top, as even though he was racing over two and a half miles, he never looked comfortable when getting beaten by Mad Max.

Somersby -- which is able to start his season off in favourable conditions due to the presence of top weight Twist Magic from the Paul Nicholls yard -- will be one of the biggest rides of new stable jockey Hadden Frost's career.

"He's one of the main reasons I took the job on -- to ride horses like him in races like this," said Frost. "Henrietta always has lovely horses and I'm very thankful to her for giving me the opportunity.

"The fact Twist Magic runs means he keeps the weights down for everyone but then again it means he is also there to beat. I think he'll be the best horse I've ridden."

Ruby Walsh has the leg-up on Twist Magic's stablemate Tchico Polo, while Barry Geraghty has been sweating to do his minimum weight of 10st 4lb to ride last month's Limerick winner Cornas for Nick Williams.

Meanwhile, Philip Hobbs has started the season with a real bang and having seen one of his smart novice hurdlers Dunraven Storm collect at Ascot on Saturday, Dare Me looks to follow in his footsteps.

Owned by Trevor Hemmings, the six-year-old was sixth behind Cue Card at Cheltenham and just touched off in the Aintree bumper. He made no mistake first time out over timber at Exeter and despite a penalty in the Totetentofollow Novices' Hurdle, there will be some long faces at Minehead if he is beaten.

Evan Williams has made no secret of the regard in which he holds Phidippides from day one and now he gets the chance to show it over fences in the Totesport Novices' Chase.

He accounted for Quantitativeeasing and The Betchworth Kid at Kempton in February and after skipping Cheltenham went to Aintree well-fancied. Nothing went right on Merseyside but he remains an exciting prospect this term and he can see off the challenge of Nicholls' Qozak.

Irish Independent

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