22 December 2023

Djelo hits all the right notes in Ascot victory

22 December 2023

Djelo maintained his unbeaten record over fences with another polished display, this time in Grade Two company at Ascot.

Trained by the in-form Venetia Williams, the diminutive five-year-old only won once over hurdles last season after moving from France but looks a completely different proposition faced with the bigger obstacles.

Having beaten the useful Master Chewy on chasing debut at Aintree he was an easy winner at Newbury last time out.

The form of that race was given a boost just before the off when Nicky Henderson’s Persian Time, who chased him home that day, won a handicap and Djelo had clearly progressed again.

Few jockeys are riding with more confidence than Charlie Deutsch at the moment and he set him alight at several fences, taking lengths out of his three rivals.

The 145-rated Might I had soon cried enough and only Kandoo Kid was in hailing distance when Djelo made his only mistake in getting too close to the second-last, but he was soon back on an even keel.

The 6-5 favourite was just kept up to his work to win by six lengths.

Deutsch told Sky Sports Racing: “I really enjoyed it, he travelled really well and jumped well apart from the second-last when I had to steady him slightly because I didn’t want to go any faster but I didn’t want to go any slower. Other than that his jumping was electric.

“He’d been long at quite a few so I didn’t want to chance it again and just let him run into it, but he picked himself up and jumped the last well.

“He will have learned a bit today and it’s good because it takes a bit of jumping this track.

“He’s a lovely horse, he enjoys his racing and he’s a hardy, racing type, he wants to get on and do it. He does what you need for a top-class chaser.

“I would be happy with today’s trip (two miles and three furlongs), he was a little outpaced the last day, today was more in his comfort zone.”

Let It Rain (8-1) gained some very valuable black type when beating the boys in the Listed Thames Materials Open National Hunt Flat Race.

In what looked arguably the strongest race of its type run in the UK this season with nine of the 13 runners having already won, it was the four-year-old filly trained by Dan Skelton who came out well on top.

A winning favourite on her debut at Warwick against her own sex, she was even more impressive on this occasion and the form has a rock-solid lock to it with Brechin Castle, winner of a similar race at Cheltenham, three and a quarter lengths back in second.

The winner was, though, in receipt of 11lb from the runner-up.

Jockey Harry Skelton said: “She shows you everything you want to see, she’s like a good woman and everyone needs one of those in their life!

“Bridget (Skelton, wife) has done a lot of work with her and she always said there was something about her – she’s got it all.

“It’s early on in her career, she’s definitely done everything we’ve asked. She’s a long way from where we want to be, but she’s going the right way.

“On paper there were a lot of good horses, lots of winners in there and she was getting the allowance so it was probably a mighty run from the second with his penalty, but we’re delighted with her.”

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