It was a big weekend of racing in the United Kingdom, with notable meetings taking place at Aintree, Chepstow, Sandown and Punchestown over the past three days.
The weekend could be an important milestone for those looking at the horses to bet on come the biggest festivals next year, with brilliant runs for some of those with eyes on the Grand National and big races at Cheltenham.
Defi Du Seuil Continues Hot Streak
The Betfair Tingle Creek Chase headlined Saturday afternoon’s action at Sandown. The Grade 1 race saw Defi Du Seuil go into the race as the heavy favourite after winning on his return at Cheltenham in November. The JLT Novices Chase winner made hard work on his return to Sandown however on Saturday.
He came to the meeting with only one previous run at the track, which came last season. On that occasion, he was able to hold off Lostintranslation to win by three-quarters of a length. It was much closer this time around. His charge towards the line came late in the day, and he had a lot of ground to make up on Un De Sceaux.
He finally took the lead as the pair jumped their final fence, before sprinting away. The win looked a formality, but he began to idle towards the finishing line, and the challenger almost got him. In the end, he was able to win by a neck, but he will have to improve with bigger tests ahead.
Bryony Frost Unable To Repeat Success
Bryony Frost has had a 2019 to remember. She became the first woman rider to win a festival race at Cheltenham earlier in the year before she was named jockey of the year early last week. She was back on-board her old friend Black Corton on Saturday for the Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.
Black Corton has been one of the leading horses for the Frost charge, but he was outclassed on this day at Aintree. The field was a small one, but it was brimming with quality. Her chances of a win would have boosted when Might Bite fell two from the last.
However, she was unable to compete with the dominant Native River, who looked in brilliant form on this showing under the stewardship of Colin Tizzard. The Richard Johnson trained horse ran away with the success with four remaining and Black Corton couldn’t get within touching distance to land a blow. On this form, he may be a solid choice for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Min Roars To Success At Punchestown
It was an excellent return to the track for Willie Mullins’ Min on Sunday. This season he has started strongly after securing a win on his return to the track last time out. But, this is a success Mullins claimed to be ‘mightly impressive.’
The win ensured that Min became only the eighth horse to win this Grade 1 event on two occasions after winning this event in 2018. He was much more commanding this year, as he held off Hardline by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
On this form, he could be one to watch for the remainder of the season. But, whether he could compete with Altior should the two come up against each other would be unlikely.