Pic D’Orhy stamped his class on the Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton to give Paul Nicholls a third win in the Grade Two in four years and set up a potential clash with Shishkin next time out.
Fresh from success in the Peterborough Chase, Pic D’Orhy (6/4 favourite) looked the one to beat and so it proved, as bar one mistake before the turn into the home straight he never looked in any danger.
Harry Cobden, enjoying a dream run for his boss in recent weeks with big wins on Bravemansgame, Hermes Allen and Tahmuras, oozed confidence throughout.
Coral cut the winner into 14/1 from 25s for the Ryanair Chase and on this form he would seem well worth his place in the field.
Paint The Dream attempted to keep tabs on him, but by the second-last had cried enough and was eventually beaten for second by Clondaw Castle.
Angels Breath, having his first run for Sam Thomas and first outing for three years, understandably ran keen before eventually being pulled up.
“I walked the course this morning and was just a bit worried about the ground, but he liked it,” said Cobden. “He missed the fourth-last but aside from that was very assured.
“He’s improved and is a smart horse, but I think he’s a few pounds off being a Grade One (horse).
“I don’t think the Ryanair Chase will be his thing and there are good races at Aintree and the other festivals.
“Before that, I think Ascot over two-miles-five (Ascot Chase next month) would suit him. He should be able to make the best use of his jumping around there.”
Dream day for Skelton team as West Balboa lands Lanzarote
West Balboa just pipped Red Risk in a thrilling finish to the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle – capping a memorable afternoon for trainer Dan Skelton and providing Bridget Andrews with one of the most valuable winners of her career.
Skelton had stayed closer to home at Warwick where he was on hand to witness a Grade Two double courtesy of Galia Des Liteaux and Grey Dawning, both ridden by his brother, Harry.
It was Harry’s wife Andrews who was on board West Balboa, and the pair cruised into contention as one by one the field thinned out.
Still in it was Charles Byrnes’ ante-post favourite Green Glory, Up For Parol and Red Risk, ridden by 7lb conditional Freddie Gingell.
West Balboa (12/1) held a slight advantage on the run to the final flight but met it all wrong, seemingly handing the initiative to Red Risk, as Up For Parol weakened.
To the mare’s credit, though, she battled back gamely and while a photograph was needed to separate the pair, there was a short head in it.
Arclight strolled to an easy victory in the Play Coral “Racing-Super-Series” For Free Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle.
A winner on her hurdling debut at Doncaster, she was sent off the 8/15 favourite facing just three rivals.
Her task was then made even easier when Regally Blonde, the second choice of punters, was a very early casualty.
Nico de Boinville decided to keep things simple on Nicky Henderson’s filly, who was rated 76 on the Flat for Sir Mark Prescott, and the result was never in doubt as she strolled to a 43-length win.
The Henderson and De Boinville partnership combined for a double on the day as 5/4 favourite Quick Draw ran out an easy winner of the Coral Bet Bundles Handicap Chase.
Only four also went to post for the Coral Get Closer To The Action Novices’ Hurdle which saw the Jonjo O’Neill team prevail with Collectors Item.
For much of the race Harry Cobden looked sure to win on Paul Nicholls’ odds-on Makin’yourmindup but a mistake at the last saw him lose momentum and Collectors Item (11/10) stayed on well to win by two lengths.
The Evan Williams-trained Annsam made every yard of the running in the Coral Racing Club Handicap Chase.
A fair sixth in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury, Adam Wedge took no prisoners from the front and quickly worked up a sizeable advantage which he was not to relinquish.
The 7/2 chance beat Smarty Wild by 17 lengths.