Haydock review: Vintage Clouds lands the Peter Marsh

Jonniesofa (left) Vintage Clouds
Image: Vintage Clouds (right)

Vintage Clouds returned to his best to make most of the running and provide jockey Danny Cook with a fourth win in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock.

The grey has run several brave races in defeat down the years, finishing placed at the last two Cheltenham Festivals as well as third in the 2018 Scottish National.

He was quietly fancied for the Grand National last year when falling at the first, but he showed when running back at Aintree in the Becher Chase earlier this season that he is not in love with the fences.

While a return to Liverpool is unlikely, there is still plenty of mileage left in him yet, with Danny Cook asking for several big leaps and apart from one occasion Vintage Clouds responded.

Having won the race on Our Vic for David Pipe as well as twice for Sue Smith already with Cloudy Too and Wakanda, Cook once again showed off his skills in a staying chase.

With Sue and Harvey Smith on holiday in Spain, it was left to owner Trevor Hemmings' racing manager Mick Meagher to sing his praises.

"It's great to win a big one with him, he deserved it," said Meagher.

Also See:

"He just didn't like Aintree, I don't think he'll be going back there, but he jumped great today because he can kick the odd one out of the ground.

"That was the plan - today. We always thought he was a National horse, but he just doesn't like it so we might go back to Cheltenham for the race he was second in last year (Ultima) and then maybe the Scottish National. He could even come back here for the National Trial."

Cook said: "He didn't take to the fences at Aintree, but they've done a good job on him at home and he got his confidence back when third in the Tommy Whittle here.

"His home work has been A1 and when I schooled him on Wednesday I was just a passenger, he was fantastic.

"He jumping was good apart from at one but that was my fault, I let the bit go in his mouth. You need to keep the bit high in his mouth when you ask him as it just gives him confidence.

"He can drop the bridle going down the back so I just wanted to keep in contention, but when I was still in front turning in I didn't think anything would get by me.

"I've ridden some good horses in this race, I've been lucky."

Sam Brown followed up a recent win at Lingfield in style when coming home well clear in the Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices' Chase.

At Lingfield he was returning from a 750-day absence, but there was no sign of the dreaded 'bounce' factor and Sam Brown and Aidan Coleman came home alone in a race which was littered with jumping errors and saw Windsor Avenue fall when beaten.

Trained by Anthony Honeyball, the 9-4 winner won by 15 lengths from Dan Skelton's Knight In Dubai, who was unbeaten in two heading into the Grade Two contest.

"He actually jumped well in the main apart from landing on top of one or two," said Honeyball.

"I think that will do him good making those mistakes now and although there were only four runners, they looked to go a good gallop in that ground.

"I'm delighted because turning in it looked like a car crash. He looked tired, he'd made mistakes and I was thinking I shouldn't have run him. He's got loads of stamina and he kept finding. I think heading to the top level he'll need three miles.

"I wasn't too worried about the bounce factor because after Lingfield he came home and ate everything up so it hadn't taken much out of him. He was almost ready to run last season when he got injured again.

"He's in the RSA and he'll be put in the National Hunt Chase. I was thinking of going to the Reynoldstown after this, but I think I'll put him in cotton wool now."

He added: "I think the race that would really suit him is the three-mile Grade One at Aintree if it was soft. We might also think of Punchestown."

Around Sky