Racing News, 22 January 2017: Cheltenham Build-Up Heats Up

Three And Four The Magic Numbers as Un and One Make History

Mullins Star Sceaux Good In Clarence House

Saturday’s major contest at Ascot came with the latest renewal of the Royal Whisky Clarence House Chase. Graced by racing greats including Desert Orchid, Viking Flagship, Sprinter Sacre and Master Minded over the years, it regularly takes one out of the very top drawer to come home in front here. Master Minded and Un De Sceaux stood as the only dual winners of this Grade 1 affair, but we now have a horse out on his own as the most successful in the history of the race as Un De Sceaux put his rivals to the sword in emphatic style.

Outsider Speredek put up a big career best in trying to do it all from the front, and indeed had all his rivals at work turning for home. All bar Un De Sceaux that is, who made up the ground with the minimum of fuss to win going away. His third triumph in this event was a remarkable 20th career win, with eight of those coming at the very highest level. This success pushed him through the £1million mark in terms of career earnings, and he can’t be too far off being the best chaser in training at present. A defence of his Ryanair Chase crown looks to be next on the agenda, with Ladbrokes making him a 7/2 shot for the race.

None So Tough As Nigel’s New One

From one 20-time winning horse racing millionaire, to another, Saturday’s other headline was provided by the Haydock heroics of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable star, The New One. It seems unlikely that The New One will even line-up for the Champion Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, but he certainly seems to enjoy this trial at the Merseyside venue.

Successful in each of the past three seasons, the evergreen 10 year old made it a record breaking four in a row, raising the roof not just at Haydock but Ascot too, as the fans watching on the big screens roared him home. Ch’tibello moved ominously well when taking up the lead after the final flight, but if there is a horse with a bigger heart than The New One in training, we are yet to see him, and he got back up in most tenacious style under the Sam Twiston-Davies drive. Even receiving a pat of admiration from Ch’tibello’s vanquished jockey, Harry Skelton, The New One must be one of the most universally popular hurdler’s in the game. The Stayer’s Hurdle looks to be his Festival target, a race for which he can be backed at 14/1 with BetVictor.

Trials Take Centre Stage This Weekend

On the subject of Cheltenham , this Saturday sees the big trials day take place at Prestbury Park. Bristol De Mai, Coneygree, L’ami Serge, Ballyandy and Claimantakinforgan are just a few of the interesting contenders on show on what looks like being a cracking seven race card, spearheaded by the Cotswold Chase.