27 January 2023

Greyval strikes Doncaster Listed gold

27 January 2023

Greyval executed a long-held plan when turning the tables on the favourite Arclight in the Sky Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster.

Fergal O’Brien’s daughter of The Grey Gatsby, a €36,000 buy from France, had finished second behind Arclight on her debut over course and distance in December, leaving her with a length and three-quarters to find.

Since then the favourite had enjoyed a procession around Kempton while Greyval (11-4) had been fine-tuned at home, and it clearly paid off.

There was all to play for on the run to the second last when Paddy Brennan, in search of better ground, took an acute inside course before he swerved back on the track proper.

That caused a concertina effect, as Nico De Boinville brought Arclight to challenge from the other side of the track. Caught in the middle was Jessica Harrington’s Komedy Kicks, who ended up falling and bringing down Inspiratrice.

Thankfully all horses and jockeys walked away uninjured as Greyval ran out a two-length winner, but Brennan picked up a six-day ban (February 10-15 inclusive) for the manoeuvre.

“She came from France and I thought it was going to be a disaster as Nick (Brown, syndicate manager) kept talking her up!” said O’Brien.

“She’s been lovely, was second the last day and Paddy gave her a great ride.

“She’s in the Triumph and it might be hard to talk them out of not going there, we’ll speak to everyone and see.”

Brown said: “We had the third in this race two years ago and when we got her, I knew this was the race I wanted to run her in.

“We put her in the Triumph because if she won and got a quote, we’d look silly not being in, but I don’t like social runners, so I doubt it. There is the mares’ option there (Cheltenham) though, and that might be better.”

Peter Niven has always thought the world of Malystic and the nine-year-old is now beginning to repay that faith.

Carrying top weight in the £50,000 Sky Bet-sponsored two-mile handicap chase, the Danny McMenamin-ridden 12-1 shot saw off the challenge of Before Midnight before the favourite Saint Segal lunged late, going down by half a length.

Home bred, his dam is a half-sister to Niven’s last top-class horse, Clever Cookie.

“He’s always been a proper horse but last year was a disaster, his first year out of novices, so he never got any experience,” said Niven.

“He didn’t even get to finish his hurdle year because of Covid, so he’s very inexperienced, he also picked up a nasty infection last season.

“He’ll be close to 150 (official rating) after that. The only conditions race for him coming up is the Game Spirit (Newbury, February 5), but that’s a bit soon. Maybe if some of those at Cheltenham tomorrow don’t go, we’ll have a look.”

I'm not keen on Cheltenham because he didn't like the razzmatazz when he last went, but then the Red Rum is National day. Maybe the Celebration Chase at Sandown.

Looking to the future, he added: “Other than that, there’s the Red Rum at Aintree. I’m not keen on Cheltenham because he didn’t like the razzmatazz when he last went, but then the Red Rum is National day. Maybe the Celebration Chase at Sandown, which might suit him.”

Parramount (1-2 favourite), a half-brother to Becher Chase winner Snow Leopardess, had little trouble in landing the odds in the Sky Bet UKs No.1 Betting App Novices’ Hurdle.

Charlie Longsdon’s seven-year-old was ridden to victory by 7lb conditional Bradley Roberts, who guided him to a 21-length success under a penalty.

Longsdon said: “It’s nice after a freeze-up that they have come back in good form.

“Bradley rides all right, doesn’t he? He apologised for looking around so much, but it was a hard race to ride with one going off a hundred miles an hour, and then the others were 10 lengths behind ours, so he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“He’s EBF qualified, so the Final at Sandown will be his aim. I’ll run him in a handicap somewhere before then. He’s 115 now, so who knows what the handicapper will do?”

Lucy Wadham struck for the second time in two days as Will Sting (9-1) came home a clear-cut winner of the Betting Better With Sky Bet Novices’ Handicap Chase under Tom Cannon.

“It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for me, so it’s nice to get a winner before Edwardstone tomorrow,” said Cannon, who will partner Alan King’s Arkle winner in the feature race at Cheltenham, the Grade One Albert Bartlett Clarence House Chase.

Ben Pauling continued his good recent form when Storminhome (11-8 favourite) opened his account at the third time of asking in the Sky Bet EBF “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle.

“He’s got some fancy entries (at Cheltenham), whether he takes them up I don’t know, but he’s a lovely horse for the future,” said Pauling.

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