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Race Meeting Report - Wednesday 16th November

Wed, Nov 16, 2016

The going had reverted to the seasonal norm of good to soft, soft in places, for this midweek jumps meeting. There were some big fields and also some big-margin wins.

At Cheltenham on Saturday Jonjo OíNeillís stable appeared to be emerging from the doldrums and he supplied the winner of the opener, a 2m novices hurdle. The Coolmore horse Utility (11/4) had disappointed since an impressive debut in a bumper but today he recaptured that form to win by a length and a half. Aidan Coleman had him going nicely in third until moving into the lead two out, and after outjumping the well-named Mister Big at the last the race was in safe keeping.

The second 2m novices hurdle went to the Paul Nicholls hotpot Copain De Classe (10/11 fav), who was third here last month. He and Shantou Rock went clear of the rest halfway down the back straight, and when that one stumbled on landing over the penultimate flight Nick Schofield seized the advantage on the favourite. Suddenly he was seven lengths up, and he ran out a convincing winner.

Verygoodverygood (13/8 fav) secured his second win this month in the 2m5f hurdle for conditional jockeys. Ryan Hatch had to work hard for this, for he was niggling away at his mount at various stages of the race. The long-time leader Paddocks Lounge didnít give way until between the last two flights, when the favouriteís stamina came into play. He galloped on to a five length win for the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. Paddocks kept on well to finish second on his first run for 16 months.

After a dismal display four days ago nobody fancied Achimota for the 3m chase, but today he led all the way for a runaway success at 33/1. A combination of his trainer Graeme McPhersonís decision to try blinkers for the first time and a tongue-tie, plus Kielan Woods sending him into the lead from the outset, made all the difference. Walk On Al got to within four lengths two out, only for the winner put another spurt on and go 12 lengths clear.

Father and son Matt and Stan Sheppard were on target at the last meeting with Phangio, who made a lot of the running, and their Bobble Boru (12/1) did much the same today in the 2m mares hurdle. She was in front until the fourth last and regained the lead between the last two. After that she had to be ridden out to hold off the renewed effort of Top And Drop to score by two lengths. Gold Bonne Raine fell at the last when third and still in with a chance.

With the prolonged dry autumn the Venetia Williams stable, renowned for its soft ground horses, has been very quiet. Although winless since May, since the rain returned the yard was certain to return to normal business before long, and after having the runner-up in the preceding race they won the sixth, a 2m4f chase, with Azert De Coeur (9/2). He led over the fifth last and steadily went clear, finishing full of beans for an 18 length triumph over Long John. Charlie Deutsch did the steering.

The finale was a 3m hurdle, in which another father-son combination, Peter and Sean Bowen, took the spoils. Court King (15/2) was always going well and after taking the lead at the fourth last he stayed on well for a ten length success over Bramble Brook. This being his third victory of the autumn, it seems that the handicapper still hasnít caught up with him.

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Jim Beavis