Monday 18 December 2017

Ruby's double adds to Nicholls' family fortunes

Al Ferof and Ruby Walsh ease clear of their rivals at Cheltenham yesterday
Al Ferof and Ruby Walsh ease clear of their rivals at Cheltenham yesterday

TWO winners for Ruby Walsh helped Paul Nicholls to yet another Cheltenham treble yesterday, but it was the champion trainer's nephew who took most of the plaudits after landing the day's feature.

The 17-year-old nephew of Nicholls, Harry Derham showed great poise aboard Brampour in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.

Derham threaded through the leaders before the final flight to come home over two lengths clear. The 7lb claiming amateur had worked his magic on the four-year-old at Ascot last month and was winning for the first time at jump racing's spiritual home.

Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice finished a respectable fourth after Paul Flynn's charge suffered an interrupted passage in the straight. Perhaps most impressive of the three Nicholls' winners was the fencing debut of exciting novice chaser Al Ferof in the Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase.

Winner of last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the grey's first start over fences suggested he will once again be involved next March, even if it already seems that a fairly vintage bunch are targeting the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy.

Walsh's other winner for Nicholls came aboard favourite Rangitoto. Another Somerset stable housing a smart prospect of its own is that of Philip Hobbs, albeit he was mightily relieved to see Fingal Bay regroup from a blunder two out to preserve his unbeaten record in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Irish Independent

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