The flamboyant two-mile chaser leads his rivals in a merry dance in the Schluer Chase on the final day of the November meeting in the home of jump racing.
John Bon shone in the Cheltenham gloom to ignite a major double race for National Hunt legend JP McManus.
The sport’s leading owner was at the home of jump racing to see his 4-9 favorite dominate the Shloer Chase. Iberico Lourdes then capped off a fine watch for McManus, trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville.
The trio’s 7-1 shot finished strongest ever to win the £100,000 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. “It was a good weekend and Nico gave them some great rides,” Lambourn-based Henderson said.
The trainer expects Gunpone, who has a distance of nine and a half lengths, to improve a lot in his first outing. But Henderson’s strength continues to impress spectators with his comprehensive defeat of three outstanding players.
Edwardston, in charge of the 2022 Tingle Creek Chase field, was left trailing on the soft ground. Aided by some quick jumps, Junbun never looked in any danger as he took the lead over the final fourth fence.
He is now 5-2 with the bookmakers in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. “He should come for this,” Henderson added, singling out Tingle Creek next month as a possible target.
“You should be so happy. He was pricking his ears while running – he had a good time and enjoyed himself.” Henderson had two chances at home in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Iberico Lourdes has edged out his Seven Barrows teammate Luccia, a race that takes him past long-time leader Lookaway at a two-and-a-half-year-old call. “I knew Lucia was going to take me to the end, and to be fair she did. He loved the hill and that ground today,” de Boinville said.
Ben Brockhouse has upheld the family tradition with Turners Open National Flat Race champion Brechin Castle (9-4f). The smart up-and-comer, the first to hit the target on the course, was wearing his father Roger’s festival-winning silk.
“This lad is his best horse ever,” the Newmarket trainer said.
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