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Ascot Coral Hurdle: Fan favourites Goshen and Coole Cody lift the mood with Grade Two triumphs after non-runner chaos

Goshen (6/5) beat Brewin'upastorm to win Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday; Coole Cody (11/4) upsets favourite Saint Calvados in the Grade Two Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase; Ascot hit by number of non-runners due to dry ground

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An emotional Gary Moore praised Goshen's owner Steve Packham for wanting to take on the Coral Hurdle at Ascot after picking up the Grade Two prize on Saturday.

On a day when the crowd at Ascot were denied the chance to cheer on a trio of superstars, it was fitting to see fan favourites Goshen and Coole Cody land the big Grade Two prizes on Saturday.

With the ground drying significantly to Good, Good to Soft in places, Cheltenham Festival winners Constitution Hill (Coral Hurdle), Edwardstone and L'Homme Presse (1965 Chase) were all withdrawn by their connections.

That left fields of just four in the Coral Hurdle and two in the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase, with Gary Moore's Goshen dominating things in the former contest under Jamie Moore.

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The former Kingwell Hurdle winner, who was switching back to the smaller obstacles after a disappointing chase debut at Ascot last month, stretched the field turning for home, leaving evens favourite Brewin'upastorm reeling in behind.

By the time they had reached the final flight, Goshen had it all sewn up and was pushed out for an eight-and-a-half-length success.

Jamie Moore told Sky Sports Racing: "We've been trying to sweeten him up since he lost his bottle over fences.

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Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels described Saturday's flurry of non-runners as 'disappointing' after dry ground obliterated field sizes.

"Dad rides him out every day and I don't go near him now because he's got that midas touch that comes with experience.

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"We've got lucky with no Constitution Hill. He'd ideally want softer ground but he's not as precious.

"He's very genuine and has really knuckled down."

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Trainer Nicky Henderson is considering taking both Constitutional Hill and Epatante to the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle after taking the former out of his intended run in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

An emotional Gary Moore refused to take credit for Goshen's resurgence, telling Sky Sports Racing: "I don't know what he [Jamie] is talking about!

"This is why we do the job. It's not all roses and things go on behind the scenes.

"Steve [Packham, owner] is a genius. He is so easy to train for and it was him who told me to put him in this race. It's turned out fantastically.

On future plans for Goshen, Moore added: "I would love to give fences one more go on proper soft ground."

'Let's make more lemonade' - Coole Cody upsets Saint Calvados

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Trainer Evan Williams is hoping there is still time to make more 'lemonade' with fan favourite Coole Cody after Grade Two success at Ascot on Saturday in the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase.

Coole Cody had just one to beat in the 1965 Chase but did so in style as he upset 2/7 favourite Saint Calvados, courtesy of a riding masterclass from Adam Wedge.

Evan Williams' 11-year-old, who had struggled for form in three starts since winning at the Cheltenham Festival in March, bounced back in style as he stalked David Maxwell on Saint Calvados.

Wedge took his time and delivered his challenge at the second last fence, stretching clear to win by 10 lengths.

"He's tough, isn't he?," Williams told Sky Sports Racing. "People like a trier and Cody is definitely that.

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"Life is tough but if you've got lemons, make lemonade. We're going to try and make a bit more lemonade!

"We're enjoying a horse that has been an absolute credit to himself."

Paying tribute to the tactical ride from Wedge, Williams added: "Adam is my jockey and I think he's better than very good. He's outstanding."

Nicholls perplexed by Ascot walkover

Paul Nicholls was left perplexed by the number of non-runners due to the ground at Ascot, with his Milan Bridge awarded a walkover in the Ebony Horse Club Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.

The champion trainer was set to saddle two in the contest and actually withdrew Quel Destin on account of the conditions, but the rest of the field were also ruled as the day progressed, leaving Milan Bridge the only horse to go to post for the £8,169 first prize.

Nicholls, who was at Haydock, said: "I didn't run Quel Destin and all along I had been planning to run him. Soft, good to soft would have been perfect, he's had proper legs. When it dried up I was getting worried a bit, but I declared the other one in case it dried up.

"I could see it was going to be a small field, but why it was a walkover, I have no idea.

Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson both send runners to Worcester on Thursday
Image: Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls will be special guests on the Racing Debate on Sky Sports on Sunday at 10am

"Lorcan (Williams) rode in the first and said 'I don't know what they are on about, the ground is safe' and Harry (Cobden) said the same thing yesterday."

Ascot's clerk of the course Chris Stickels had watered a selected area of the track overnight in a bid to ward off any quickening of conditions, but admitted the rate at which the ground had dried after midweek rain was unexpected.

He told Sky Sports Racing: "I'm surprised by how quickly the ground dried because we had an awful lot of rain earlier in the week.

"I think it's always tricky when you get good ground jumping at this time of the year, so it doesn't really surprise me that horses that want softer ground come out when it is good this early on.

"Maybe towards the tail end of the season it's more likely that people will run on good ground if they're ideally wanting something easier.

"It has been disappointing for us as a venue for that to have happened. I would rather they didn't run if they are worried about it than run and come back unsound."

Fry team have big plans for Boothill

Boothill produced a fine round of jumping to win at Ascot on Saturday
Image: Boothill produced a fine round of jumping to win at Ascot on Saturday

Boothill produced the best jumping display of the day as he landed the Jim Barry Wines Hurst Park Handicap Chase in the absence of L'Homme Presse.

Harry Fry's winner saw off the challenge of 2/1 joint-favourite So Scottish to claim the class two prize.

"He was a very good young horse," winning rider Johnny Burke told Sky Sports Racing. "Things went wrong for him when he got injured as a novice hurdler.

"Last time was a confidence-boosting win and he's proved it again here today.

"They've always thought he was a Grade One horse so you'd be hopeful he could climb the ladder and stumble into a Grade One."

Scarface lands the opener at Ascot on Saturday
Image: Scarface lands the opener at Ascot on Saturday

Joe Tizzard's Scarface (8/13 favourite) showed a good attitude to win the opening Racehorse Shares From £39 Novices' Hurdle by half a length, while Anthony Honeyball's Coquelicot (100-30) landed the spoils in the Mariner Systems Mares' Handicap Hurdle.

Nicholls completed a double on the card as 5/4 favourite Thames Water impressed in the concluding bumper under Adrian Heskin.

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