Cloudy Glen, a 33-1 chance trained by Venetia Williams, carried the famous colours of the late Trevor Hemmings to a second successive victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase here on Saturday, staying on strongly all the way to the line to hold the late charge of Fiddlerontheroof (9-2).
Cloudy Glen was prominent from the off as Cloth Cap, last year’s winner, cut out the running and moved into the lead under Charlie Deutsch rounding the home turn.
Remastered was travelling as well as the winner and in a close second but overjumped at the fourth last and crashed out, leaving Cloudy Glen in a clear lead. Fiddlerontheroof was the only rival able to mount a challenge but while he was closing steadily from the final fence, the line came in time for Cloudy Glen.
“He’s so tough, he’s got the mental attitude to keep going and never stop,” Deutsch, who was celebrating the biggest win of his career, said afterwards.
“All the fences up the straight, he winged them [and] to ride a big winner for [the Hemmings family] is wonderful. That’s what the sport’s about, his horses always had a lot of time and he looked after them, and they always paid him back.
“I’ve never come close to doing this so I very much appreciate it and I’m thankful to anyone who’s ever given me a leg-up.”
Earlier on the card, Ahoy Senor ran out a highly impressive winner of the Grade Two John Francome Novice Chase and was cut to single-figure odds by most bookmakers for the Grade One Brown Advisory Novice Chase at Cheltenham in March.
Carlisle 12.10 Universal Folly 12.45 Cornerstone Lad 1.15 A Distant Place 1.45 Elimay 2.20 Lossiemouth (nap) 2.50 Juge Et Parti (nb) 3.20 Summergrounds
Leicester 12.55 Book Of Secrets 1.25 Gaia Vallis 1.55 Marble Sands 2.30 Lonimoss Bareliere 3.00 Seaborough 3.30 Dorisa Queen
Lucinda Russell’s gelding, the 66-1 winner of the Grade One Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree in April, unseated his rider at the second-last on his chasing debut earlier this month. But aside from a flat-footed jump at the water, he was much more assured here and drew 31 lengths clear of Mr Incredible, the favourite, at the line.
“I started crying up the home straight,” Russell said. “Coming back in, to actually think you have a horse like that, it is just amazing to be connected to a horse like this. We have won a Grand National and that was very special, but this is a young horse who is just starting off.
“I was watching him through the race and he is still a novice. That is his sixth race. He has no experience and he jumped around there with such ability.”
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A thrilling finish to the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle in desperate conditions at Newcastle saw Epatante (11-8), the former Champion Hurdle winner, dead-heat with Not So Sleepy (18-1) after a nip-and-tuck battle from the final flight.