Tom George is excited about what might lie ahead for Nacarat after his brilliant display in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. The grey lined up in Yorkshire without a victory to his name since landing the 2009 Racing Post Chase, having repeatedly come up slightly short at the highest level.
However, George had hinted that this could be the season the nine-year-old reached the peak of his powers, with a new training regime having put an end to the countless shoulder problems he had encountered in the past. Ollie Magern, bidding for a remarkable hat-trick in the race following successes in 2005 and 2007, was sent into his customary front-running role, with Nacarat settled in second by Sam Thomas.
As the veteran began to feel the pinch heading down the back straight for a second time, a bold-jumping Nacarat (6/1) took up the running and soon had all of his rivals hard at work. There was a brief moment of worry for his supporters as he landed on all fours after jumping the third-last, but he quickly regained his momentum and powered up the straight to score by four lengths from The Tother One, with last year's winner Deep Purple third.
Massini's Maguire was cut to 14/1 from 33/1 by the sponsors for Paddy Power Gold Cup after making a successful debut for David Pipe in the United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase. The nine-year-old completed an unforgettable hour for owner Alan Peterson, whose staying hurdler Fair Along also won at Wetherby.
Not seen out since last December, it was a fine training performance from the Pond House master and an even better ride from Tom Scudamore. Take The Breeze loomed large at the final fence but a big leap handed the advantage back to the former Philip Hobbs-trained gelding, who went on to win by a length and a half at 8/1.
Eddie Harty will consider the options for Captain Cee Bee after his nine-year-old made the perfect return to action in the Poplar Square Chase at Naas. Having his first start since winning the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown in April, Mark Walsh gave the 9/10 favourite a patient ride and barely had cause to worry at any stage. His jumping was generally excellent, with his only blip a minor one at the final fence, and he was giving upwards of 4lb to three decent rivals.
"That's lovely. Just what the doctor ordered. His jumping has improved from last year -- although there wasn't a lot wrong with it. He was very quick over his last three fences today," said a delighted Harty.