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Cheltenham

  • 14:10 RSA Chase 3m 80y

  • (Grade 1 Novices' Chase) £150,000 added 5yo+ 8 ran
  • Winner £85,425 2nd £32,055 3rd £16,050 4th £7,995
  • Going: Good (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 5.70s
  • Off time: 14:10:37

Blaklion beats big guns to land the RSA Chase at Cheltenham

By Mark Crellin.   Last Updated: 16/03/16 6:42pm

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Ryan Hatch celebrates after winning the RSA Chase on Blaklion

Ryan Hatch celebrates after winning the RSA Chase on Blaklion

Blaklion (8/1) stayed on strongly under Ryan Hatch to win a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1 RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

There were four in with a huge shout jumping the final fence but market leaders More Of That (6/4 favourite) and No More Heroes were left behind on the run-in as Blaklion and Shaneshill (16/1) fought out the finish.

And the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained winner pulled away in the closing stages to make it three victories from his last four starts.

Scottish raider Seeyouatmidnight took them along for most of the race but had the top staying novices in Britain and Ireland on his tail and No More Heroes jumped into the lead two out.

Shaneshill, More Of That, Blaklion and No More Heroes were together at the last

Former World Hurdle winner More Of That was also in close proximity under Barry Geraghty, while Shaneshill, representing the in-form Willie Mullins-stable, cruised into contention rounding the home turn.

However, Blaklion was also still in the picture and capped a fine round of jumping with another bold leap at the last, before battling resolutely up the hill to score by half a length and give Hatch a second Festival success.

More Of That finished eight lengths back in third after reportedly breaking a blood vessel while No More Heroes, who passed the post in fourth, unfortunately suffered a tendon injury and will not race again.

Ryan Hatch now has two Festival wins to his name

Hatch said of the winner: "He's not very big, but he can jump. He was absolutely super - he travelled all the way.

"He had a bit of boot at the end and passed them all. He's a very good horse and I just steered him really."

And Twiston-Davies added: "This is what Cheltenham is all about.

"We knew he had a great chance coming here, but we were worried about the ground. Now it looks like he prefers better ground.

"He's not big, but he's game, he jumps, and he travels. The day he fell here made him, because he's barely made a mistake since. I hope he makes up into a Gold Cup horse. 

"When I went home on Tuesday I've never been more miserable. The press were right - (Champion Hurdle fourth) The New One simply isn't good enough over two miles, but he is still the second-best hurdler in this country, and winning this makes up for it.

"We left Ryan on him, rather than getting a bigger name, because we like to give the lads who do all the work a chance. He rode him beautifully."

Ryan Hatch celebrates RSA Chase glory on Blaklion

Mullins was thrilled with Shaneshill and said: "It was a fantastic run. We just elected to sit and wait with him and I'm very happy with that.

"We'll probably stick at this sort of trip and this better ground has probably suited him a bit better as well. I would imagine he'll go to Punchestown."

More Of That's trainer Jonjo O'Neill reported: "He ran a blinder but unfortunately he was bleeding out of both nostrils at the end.

"From the top of the hill I was a bit worried. I was not happy with the way he was going, but he was still there and I thought he'd run on again.

"The poor fellow has run a great race, considering what happened. Nobody likes to see a horse bleed and we'll give him the best treatment he can get. He did bleed at Newbury, but that was his wind as well.

"We just hope it's not a case of, every time he comes under pressure, he bleeds."

Gigginstown House own No More Heroes and Stud manager Eddie O'Leary said on Wednesday evening: "No More Heroes has suffered a career-ending injury, he's severed a tendon.

"We're not sure when it happened but possibly at the third-last.

"He's with the vets now and he's stable. He won't run again, unfortunately, but we'll do our best to save him."

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