Longsdon delight after Minella Boys digs deep to take spoils
FORMER Irish point-to-pointer Minella Boys denied last year's winner Master Overseer when grinding out victory in yesterday's At The Races Sussex National at Plumpton.
Master Overseer tried to slug it out in this marathon handicap chase but did not have his own way as Rebel Melody shared front-running duties. The odd error did not help David Pipe's charge either, but when Rebel Melody cried enough after four out, Master Overseer was still going well at the head of affairs.
Meanwhile, the Charlie Longsdon-trained Minella Boys was quietly creeping into the contest in the hands of Felix de Giles. He delayed his challenge until just before the final fence where the 8/1 shot took a narrow advantage and went on to win by two and a half lengths.
"The cheekpieces helped him. They have made him braver at his obstacles. For a big horse he's not the bravest and he was jumping with a long stride so I'm delighted. He really wants heavy ground or an extreme trip," said Longsdon.
As for today's action, Henry Daly's Pearlysteps has been found the perfect opportunity in the staying beginners' chase at Hereford. The eight-year-old has been brought along very slowly by his patient trainer, but looks to be getting the hang of things.
Decent over hurdles, in two runs over fences to date it appears he's going to take even higher rank. He was unfortunate to bump into the classy Wymott on his debut over the bigger obstacles but did run him to four lengths. Just 10 days later he was out again when he found former Flat performer Golan Way had too much toe for him on the run-in.
Both of those performances suggest he has race in him and those experiences should him edge out seasonal debutant Aldertune from the Paul Nicholls yard.
Charminster is a clear choice in the first division of opening maiden hurdle after his win at Haydock in November. Although the second, Herdsman, has since let the form down a little, his win was impressive and trainer Donald McCain has high hopes for this five-year-old.
Howard Johnson's Nafaath should take all the beating with a clear round in the two-mile novices chase at Ayr.