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Cheltenham

  • 13:50 BetVictor Handicap Chase 3m 3f 71y

  • (Grade 3) £50,000 added 4yo+ 17 ran
  • Winner £28,475 2nd £10,685 3rd £5,350 4th £2,665
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Result
  • Winning time: 7m 27.10s
  • Off time: 13:53:02

Harry Cobden won the marathon BetVictor Chase aboard Viconte du Noyer

Last Updated: 12/11/16 6:37pm

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Viconte Du Noyer jumps the last fence just in front of runner-up Warrantor (nearest).

Viconte Du Noyer jumps the last fence just in front of runner-up Warrantor (nearest).

Colin Tizzard was in the winner's enclosure again after Harry Cobden steered 20/1 chance Viconte Du Noyer home in an uncomfortably dramatic renewal of the BetVictor Handicap Chase Cheltenham.

Successful 35 minutes earlier with Thistlecrack, Tizzard was sending the grey winner out for the first time from his yard, the grey having been one of the horses owned by Alan and Ann Potts transferred to him from Henry De Bromhead's yard in the summer.

Sent of a 20/1 chance under this season's leading conditional rider Cobden, he made stealthy progress on the run to two out to overhaul frontrunning pair Shotgun Paddy and Sausalito Sunrise.

Warrantor was the first to throw down a challenge, but a sound jump at the final fence kept Viconte Du Noyer firmly in front and they maintained the advantage all the way to the winning post, scoring by a length from Warrantor (14/1) with the well-supported Minella Rocco (11/2 favourite) just a head further back in third after a series of jumping errors. Fourth Act (12/1) was a close-up fourth.

There was an ugly incident halfway through the race when the riderless Le Reve refused to jump the second-last fence with a circuit to go, causing a pile-up which saw Cogry, Racing Pulse and Midnight Prayer exiting the race through no fault of their own.

Happily it was reported that no horses were injured in the melee, although Le Reve's rider Nico De Boinville went to hospital for precautionary X-rays and reportedly sustained a suspected upper arm fracture

"I'm led to believe it's an upper arm fracture which is what I've been told by Simon Claisse (Cheltenham clerk of the course), but I'm trying to get hold of Nico at the minute," said De Boinville's boss, trainer Nicky Henderson.

"It looks like he will need surgery which is not good news."

Of the winner, Cobden said: "All of his good runs previously had been over two miles and Mr Tizzard put him over three miles, three today, but he jumped great and travelled brilliant.

"He wasn't stopping up the hill so I can't see why he can't get even further."

Tizzard admitted: "Running him in this race was quite brave. Tom Scudamore rode him work a few days ago and said he was a two-miler, so we thought we may have him in the wrong race.

"I said halfway round 'If he stays, he wins'.

"We were lucky we missed the carnage. Things like that happen.

"Every winner is important. Ann and Alan have spent a fortune on horses. They want Cheltenham horses and that's why we entered a lot here this weekend and they were fit and ready to run.

"He might be a Grand National horse, but at this stage he might be anything."

An excellent first run of the season by 14/1 chance Warrantor delighted trainer Warren Greatrex, who said: "He was almost too gassy today and I kept saying 'Drop the bit, drop the bit' - he was pulling too hard for a circuit.

"Going to the last I thought he was going to win, but he got a bit close to it. I'm chuffed for the owner because he's a relatively young horse with a bright future.

"I'd say we will look at a race like the Welsh National, because he loves soft ground. He wants marathon trips. He was a little unlucky last season - my son Tom fell off him at the first at Catterick, and then he was going really well at Carlisle when he fell three out. We're off to a better start this season."

Jockey Barry Geraghty was also pleased with the run from Minella Rocco, who stayed on admirably up the hill under 11st 9lb.

Geraghty expects the Jonjo O'Neill-trained six-year-old to have a big say in the better staying races this winter sandsaid: "It was a good run. He won the four mile chase so we know he'd stay. I was hard at work a long way out but he kept going. He's got a bright future that's for sure."

The first three home are all understandably prominent in Sky Bet's Welsh National market, with Minella Rocco promoted to become joint-favourite at 14/1 alongside Bishops Road. Viconte Du Royer is next at 16/1 and Warrantor's a 20/1 chance.

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