Williams in wonderland with treble
Venetia Williams ended a winless seven weeks in style with a near 607/1 Ascot treble as Drumshambo, Houblon Des Obeaux and Zamdy Man provided the Hereford trainer and jockey Aidan Coleman with a day to remember.
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Drumshambo ended a 46-day drought with victory in the Listed Byrne Group Handicap Chase before Houblon Des Obeaux took the United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase. Zamdy Man completed the trio when proving far too hot for his rivals in the GL Events Owen Brown Novices' Hurdle.
"It's been a wonderful day. If they are like London buses, they are good buses to be on. Houblon Des Obeaux's win was like a carbon copy of the first winner," said Williams.
"I'm absolutely chuffed to bits. Some of mine have been coming up a bit short and it has been a little frustrating. This will let those horses at home off the hook - they won't have to do any extra work now.
After Zamdy Man's scintillating victory, Williams said: "This is the first time he's won a race going away. He was always a bit gassy and a bit weak. We decided to keep him as a novice and he's strengthened up since last season."
Ivor's King showed tremendous fortitude to battle back and win the Ascot Underwriting Novices' Limited Handicap Chase in gruelling conditions.
In a driving rainstorm, Joe Tizzard's mount, who made all in a novice chase at Newton Abbot before being beaten under a penalty there three weeks ago, attempted to employ similar tactics.
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Yet having led them into the straight, he looked cooked for third approaching the last fence as Up To Something and Persian Snow went past the six-year-old.
But it all changed in a matter of strides. While Persian Snow tired and ambled over, Up To Something pinged the last to perfection.
Then it became a test of stamina and Ivor's King (5/1) was galvanised, helped by racing against the far rail. Despite being matched in running at 90.0, Tizzard's mount kept finding more and 5/2 joint-favourite Up To Something blatantly idled up the run-in, and was collared on the line to be beaten a neck.
After watching Ivor's King make it two wins from three runs over fences, winning trainer Colin Tizzard said: "I probably ran him too soon last time after he won and his weight was a lot better today.
"This is more his trip. He's a big, strong boy and he handled those (good to soft) conditions well. He'll probably have a month off before he runs again."
First-season trainer Dan Skelton declared it was "a dream come true" after having scored with his first-ever Ascot runner when the well-backed Willow's Saviour gained an emphatic success in the Gardiner & Theobald Novces' Handicap Hurdle.
Six-year-old Willow's Saviour, sent off a 9/1 chance in the hands of Dan's younger brother Harry Skelton, proved far too good for his 14 opponents.
Sterling Gent made much of the running and still led turning into the straight in a slowly-run race, but Willow's Saviour, owned by the Triple F Partnership, was always travelling smoothly and took it up approaching two out.
The former Charlie Longsdon inmate, having his first run for 199 days, went on to score by eight lengths, eased down.
Coup De Grace (14/1) stayed on really well to take second under Joshua Moore, with recent shock Wincanton scorer Letmego, sent off the 6/1 joint favourite, making late progress to take third a further five lengths back.
Formerly assistant to Paul Nicholls, Skelton has made a fast start to his career. His third winner from 20 runners was also his first over hurdles.
Skelton said: "He did it well and I've done a lot of work with him. He was running off a mark of 115, which, historically on his form, was fair. I thought a couple of others would have to under-perform to win this but he has been giving us the right signs.
"He will go up more than 6lb for that, so we thought that if he won well, we'd have a look at a £20,000 race at Musselburgh on Friday, so we put him in there.
"To be honest, while it may not be the Charlie Hall Chase, having a winner on a Saturday at Ascot is like a dream come true. It's fantastic to have runners here."
Tom Scudamore had an armchair ride in the Children's Trust Standard Open National Hunt Flat race when the imposing Pleasant Company (11/4 favourite), trained by David Pipe, earned an easy eight-length victory over Rhapando.
"For a big horse, he is surprisingly light on his feet. He spooked at the big screen going down to post but he's done it nicely," said Scudamore.