The 145 rated hurdler Dashel Drasher was the star of the show at Haydock when getting off the mark at the third attempt over fences in the two miles five novices' chase. Jeremy Scott's charge had run well on his fencing bow behind Champ at Newbury last month before unseating his rider at the first at the same track last week. Returning to action, he jumped well - even though they missed four fences out down the backstraight - and proved too strong for Aintree winner Champagne Mystery. Matt Griffiths' mount had the measure of Nicky Henderson's runner by the second last before crossing the line seven lengths in front. Yet to race beyond two miles six, it is possible the Passing Glance gelding will clash with Champ once again in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. Alternatively, he may step up to three miles for the first time in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Gone To Lunch and Melodic Rendezvous are the best two horses Scott has handled and Dashel Drasher looks another potential Graded winner for the Somerset trainer.
Jonjo O'Neill's interview in One Jump Ahead produced two more winners courtesy of Ashfield Paddy (4/1) and Cobolobo (9/4). Declan Phelan's Irish Pointers section should also have been amongst the winners once again at the Merseyside track but Keep Wondering received an ordinary ride in the staying novices' hurdle. Philip Hobbs' Scorpion gelding had finished runner-up on his Rules debut at Aintree last month over two and a half miles. Stepping up in trip, the five year old jumped and travelled well but was pushed into contention leaving the back straight. Leading at the third last, he looked in control but made a mistake at the final flight and weakened on the run-in. Beaten fifteen lengths in third, the formbook doesn't tell the true story. He went through the race like the best horse and, under a more patient ride, would have won comfortably. Keep Wondering is above average and it will be interesting to see what official rating he receives.
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