Wetherby: Menorah returns with surprise Charlie Hall win
Menorah caused a minor surprise to land the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby for in form trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson. Fresh from their big win last weekend with Wishfull Thinking, the pair landed another big race triumph in impressive style, with Menorah out staying his rivals on the run in.
Silviniaco Conti had been sent off the well supported favourite for the 3m 1f contest but he put in another disappointing display for Paul Nicholls. Noel Fehily set off to make all on last year’s Gold Cup 4th but despite jumping slickly, he found little for pressure and eventually finished fourth.
Menorah had been held up behind the leaders early on but made two mistakes which nearly cost him when the race began to unfold. Johnson galvanised his charge again and having hit the front before the second last, stayed on stoutly to record a four length success.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Taquin De Seuil, finished a fine second with another game staying performance, with Double Ross, who had travelled smoothly, just a short-head back in third.
Hobbs, watching the action from Ascot, said: “He’s a fantastic horse, he’s a Cheltenham Festival winner and he’s won plenty of other races.
“I think it’s the first time he’s won over three miles. I suppose you have to think about King Georges and races like that.
“That wasn’t the first thought this morning, but we’re going to have to go that sort of route, I’d have thought.
“I suppose we needed Silviniaco Conti to run below-par for us to have a chance, which he has. Anyway, he’s run fantastic.”
Also at Wetherby, Warren Greatrex’s Cole Harden gained a deserved Graded success in the West Yorkshire Hurdle. Having gone close in the Sefton Hurdle at Aintree when stepped up to three miles for the first time last season, the 5yo again showed his liking for a stamina test by taking the Grade 2 contest by an impressive 8 lengths.
At Fishers Cross, who was trying to make amends for a poor season last term, was sent off the warm order odds on favourite but again failed to sparkle under A.P McCoy. He did loom up to join the front running Cole Harden at one stage but began to struggle soon after, whilst Gavin Sheehan still had plenty of horse under him.
Sheehan kicked for home before the last and went clear in an instant, eventually being eased down towards the line. Outsider of the three, Medinas, finished second, with the disappointing At Fishers Cross back in third.
Winning trainer Warren Greatrex said: “I had a feeling he’d improved a lot over the summer and I think he’ll improve from this.
“If it hadn’t gone well today we could have gone back to handicaps. That was impressive, though, and we’ll look at the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: John Giles/PA Wire
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