Cyrname got his career firmly back on track with an awesome performance in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and providing former champion trainer Paul Nicholls with his fourth win in the three miles event. Tackling the trip for only the second time, the eight year old toyed with his rivals as he barely came off the bridle before being pushed out for a two lengths win from the 161 rated Vinndication. A shadow of his former self following his win at Ascot in November on his next couple of starts, he has been handled brilliantly by Team Ditcheat and it was a pleasure to see him back to his best here. The King George at Kempton on Boxing Day will be next and he will arrive on the back of a near two months break. He will provide a stern test to stablemate Clan Des Obeaux, who will be bidding to win the Christmas feature for a third consecutive year.
Gordon Elliott sent out 8 winners from 24 runners over the two days at Down Royal and they included four horses featured in the Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead, namely Farouk D'Alene, Envoi Allen, Ballyadam and Sir Gerhard. Envoi Allen couldn't have made a better start to his chasing career as he readily brushed his opponents aside to register a six lengths win. The dual Cheltenham Festival winner is expected to head to Fairyhouse at the end of next month for the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices' Chase (29th November). Ballyadam made a smooth transition to obstacles with a twelve lengths victory in the two miles maiden hurdle. Jack Kennedy's mount sat close to the pace before breezing to the front and readily pulling clear. The Grade 1 Royal Bond Novices' Hurdle could be his next port of call. Plenty of readers of OJA have already backed Sir Gerhard for next March's Cheltenham Festival bumper and the Jeremy gelding looked a potential top notcher as he sauntered clear to win the concluding bumper on Saturday by a hard held fourteen lengths. There may not have been a lot of strength in depth to the race but the winner was in a different league to his eleven opponents.
Saturday also proved to be a red letter day for Dorset based trainer Anthony Honeyball with the former rider sending out a 308/1 three timer at Ascot. Sully D'Oc AA, Kid Commando and Regal Encore all scored at the Berkshire track and it is worth noting that the second named was Anthony's horse to follow in OJA. Indeed, the yard have enjoyed 6 winners from their last 12 runners.
Overall, it was a superb day for One Jump Ahead with 9 winners, namely Castle Rushen (4/5), Quilixios, Ballyadam (4/6), Sully D'Oc AA (9/2), Kid Commando (11/4), Cyrname (3/1), Regal Encore (14/1), Arrivederci (4/1) and Sir Gerhard (2/5).
Don't forget, if you haven't already ordered the OJA Updates (£34), please head to the Publications section of the site. I spoke to Dan Skelton at Wetherby on Friday and asked him about a number of his highly promising youngsters. I shall pass on news of these in the Paddy Power November Update next month.
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