A review of the rest of the action from Saturday's meeting at Haydock where Master Tommytucker was a taking winner of the graduation chase.
Nicholls ace shines in the gloom
2/1 favourite Master Tommytucker produced a sparkling display in the Haydock gloom to rout his rivals in the Back And Lay On Betfair Exchange Graduation Chase.
Paul Nicholls' charge is really getting his act together this season and jumped well in the main under Sam Twiston-Davies.
Good Boy Bobby (9/4) was the only conceivable danger from the third last but he never looked like getting to the all-the-way winner who went on to score by 15 lengths.
“He’s got a serious engine – he jumps from fence to fence and does it the hard way on the front,” said the winning rider. “He does relax in front, but he puts other horses under pressure.
“We got into a good rhythm – and Harry Cobden had a really good chat with me (beforehand), and was incredibly helpful. He just said he likes to jump by himself, so just leave him to it – because pretty much, when you ask him, he tends to do his own thing.
“So he said, whatever you do, as hard as it can be, just sit and hold his hand all the way round.”
Betfair and Paddy Power make the winner a 25/1 chance for the Ryanair Chase and 50s for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
War Lord has Power to hold on
Robbie Power and Colin Tizzard combined to win a dramatic renewal of the Betfair Racing Only Bettor Handicap Hurdle with War Lord (13/2).
Arrivederci looked a big danger when falling three out but the winner still had to fend off a host of challengers, led by Umbrigado (5/1).
For a stride or two before the last he looked ready to go on but was less fluent than the winner there and it was only in the final 25 yards that he finally began to get to him again. At the line a length-and-a-quarter separated the pair with Our Power (10/1) and Shakeem Up'arry (11/2) third and fourth respectively.
Leopardess leaves it late
Only four finished in the Betfair Supports Safer Gambling Week Handicap Chase but we were still treated to a thrilling finish, Snow Leopardess (9/2 joint-favourite) running down long-time leader Commodore (20/1) in the shadow of the posts.
Hugh Nugent seemed to have everything in hand between the last two on the runner-up and even clearing the final fence looked set for victory.
However despite the assistance of the far rail his partner began to tread water and Brian Hughes aboard the winner needed no second invitation, driving his partner forward to claim a half-length success.
The pair were 18 lengths clear of Newtide (7/1), who led the pursuit of Commodore for much of the second circuit, in third.
Winning trainer Charlie Longsdon said: “She has been a really good mare in her time. She won a Listed bumper at Gowran, and she won a Grade Two at Newbury.
“She got a leg when she won at Auteuil, was off for two years and had a foal and has a yearling on the ground by Sir Percy. She’s very, very fragile – and we can’t train her hard at home.”
Nonetheless, Longsdon was always optimistic of a good performance here.
“We knew potentially off 126, it was a nice mark – she was 135 in the past, before she got injured,” he added. "She loves her jumping, and she stays – and she’s a dude of a mare.
“I think she’ll only improve – and Brian said if she hadn’t made a mistake at the last in the back straight both times, she’d have probably got there easier. But I’m delighted with her – a winner on a big day like this is always important for middle-sized yards.”
Longsdon is prepared to aim even higher with her this season too if Snow Leopardess comes out of her victory well.
He said: “We’ll see how she is in the morning – we won’t make any plans (yet), but I know the owner would love to go for the mares’ chase at Cheltenham.
“That is two and a half miles, so we’ll have to make big decisions coming up – otherwise, she’ll have a look at the four-miler (National Hunt Chase). The most important thing is keeping her sound now, and we’ll wrap her up in cotton wool.
Perfect end to proceedings
He may be rising 14 but Perfect Candidate (8/1) taught his younger rivals a thing or two in the closing My Odds Boost On Betfair Stayers' Handicap Chase.
Paddy Brennan's mount was winning the race for the second year running and three out he was the only horse still going forward.
His jockey knew the dangers were in front as he sailed into an unassailable advantage and he was surefooted at the closing obstacles before easing home 45 lengths clear of the only other finishers Fortified Bay (18/1) and Sheneededtherun (28/1).
Johnson off to flier
Richard Johnson partnered Llandinabo Lad (13/2) to victory in the Betfair Weighed In Podcast Newton Novices' Hurdle.
In a race run in driving rain, stamina came to the fore as turning in 7/4 favourite Do Your Job and market rival Flic Ou Voyou seemed to have the race between them.
However the latter pecked badly on landing when alongside the leader two out and while Do Your Job still held a two lengths advantage jumping the last, Johnson was galvanising the winner in behind.
He switched him to challenge on the outside and Tom Symonds’ charge powered past his rival to win by four-and-a-quarter lengths.
Betfair make the winner a 33/1 chance for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Symonds said: “I’m delighted with him, because he was chucked in a bit at the deep end. He doesn’t need it soft, but he appears more effective on it.
“The plan was to see where we were today – I’m thinking something like a Tolworth over that stiff two miles at Sandown will suit him, and that’s what we will look at.”