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Bullets downs rivals in Champion Chase

The vastly improved Dodging Bullets came of age in the Champion Chase, taking down former Champions Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre in the process. The 7yo was the form horse coming into the race after victories in the Tingle Creek and Clarence House Chase and battled gamely to the line to see off two of the outsiders, Somersby and Special Tiara in a terrific finish.


Special Tiara, as is always the case, took off at a rate of knots from the front and was soon clear of his rivals who were well bunched up most of the way round. 2013 winner Sprinter Sacre didn’t look to be himself from an early stage, jumping poorly before sadly being pulled up before the turn for home.


Last year’s Champion, Sire De Grugy was also struggling from a good piece out but battled hard to the line to finish fourth. Dodging Bullets, bred by top flat jockey Frankie Dettori, jumped to the front at the second last and having seen off a tremendous battle from the 11yo Somersby, came home a 1 1/4 length winner. Long time leader, Special Tiara was a further 1 3/4 lengths back in third.


Winning jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, recording a quick double on the card said: “It’s a great piece of training by the boss (Paul Nicholls). I need to get my breath back I am still shaking a little bit! He didn’t miss a beat the whole way round. The only one he missed was the second last but he was travelling so well.”


Nicholls added: “I think he should have been favourite on form. I couldn’t see why the other two were ahead of him in the market. I accept they are former Champions but sometimes the heart rules the head a little bit.


“He has been progressive and progressive young horses usually come out on top. It was a great ride from Sam, he is riding so well. Harry Derham, my nephew, rides him every day and he will be made up. It is great for the whole team and it is great to win the Champion Chase again.”


Kevin Walsh / Photo: Julian Herbert/PA Wire


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