Not surprisingly, it was testing conditions at Ffos Las but it didn't stop Al Dancer and Emitom from producing two impressive performances. The former was a smart bumper performer finishing fourth in a Grade 2 event at Aintree last spring. A comfortable winner on his hurdling bow at Carlisle (runner-up won well since) last month, he readily defied his penalty under Sam Twiston-Davies. A two lengths winner, the Al Namix gelding is an exciting prospect for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
That comment also applies to the latter who made it three wins from three outings for Warren Greatrex. A dual bumper winner, including at Ascot earlier this month, he sauntered to a five lengths victory in the two and a half miles maiden hurdle. The runner-up Lisnagar Oscar is a promising type in his own right but the former pointer was made to look very ordinary by the winner. His trainer indicated afterwards that the four year old will be kept to a lower level for the time being. However, it will be interesting to see if his connections are tempted by a tilt at the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at their local track at the end of next month. Either way, the Gold Well gelding looks a horse with a bright future.
I am working at Haydock Park tomorrow with the Grade 1 Betfair Chase the feature. While only five runners line up, it promises to be a fantastic event featuring a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, the last two King George winners and last year's winner Bristol De Mai (3 from 3 at the track by an aggregate of 111 lengths). The quintet have won 48 races between them, including 14 at Grade 1 level. There have been 13 renewals of the Betfair Chase but it has never been run on good ground - the last six have been run on soft or heavy ground. Paul Nicholls (6), Colin Tizzard (3) and Nigel Twiston-Davies (2) have won 11 of the 13 runnings and all three are represented once again. This must be the first time each runner is making their seasonal reappearance. For the record, each horse's first time out record is:
Bristol De Mai 1221 (since arriving from France), Clan Des Obeaux 1142, Might Bite 3521, Native River U3321 and Thistlecrack 315115.
Enjoy the weekend and I will be back to update the Diary shortly. Don't forget if you haven't purchased a copy of One Jump Ahead, please head to the Publications section of the site. Only £9.99, it makes an ideal Christmas present.
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