Rampant A Plus Tard earns historic success for Blackmore and de Bromhead

Henry de Bromhead become the first Irish trainer to land the Betfair Chase

Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Plus Tard en route to a dominant victory in the Betfair Chase

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead teamed up for more Grade 1 glory on British soil as the rampant A Plus Tard claimed a dominant victory in the Betfair Chase, writes Paul Martin.

The seven-year-old was back in action for the first time since finishing runner-up to stablemate Minella Indo in March’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and set off as the 5/4 favourite.

It was a status A Plus Tard more than justified, surging to the front two fences out and cruising to a 22-length victory which sees de Bromhead make history as the first Irish trainer to take the spoils in this race.

“My heart was in my mouth as normal but he was brilliant, and Rachael was brilliant as ever,” de Bromhead said.

“We went back to two miles last year and having been beaten twice, we thought we better look for another option.

“He’s only a seven-year-old and he’s achieved a hell of a lot for his age. It’s great to see him back like that. He’s been working really well and everyone is really pleased with him at home.

“There’s a great crowd and we always get such a warm reception here.

“After the 10th person telling me no Irish horse had won the race here, I started to wonder why we’d come across at all! But we’re delighted and we’re very lucky to have him.”

Bristol de Mai was bidding to join Kauto Star as a four-time Betfair Chase winner and made the early running alongside Royal Pagaille.

But the reigning champion never looked overly comfortable in comparison to A Plus Tard, who was jumping well from a settled position in fourth during the opening lap.

Then it was down to Blackmore to pick her moment to pounce and a fine jump five from home put her on the heels of Royale Pagaille.

She then stepped on the accelerator before the second-to-last, which A Plus Tard went over two lengths clear, and navigated the final fence to a rapturous reception from the Haydock punters to cross in blissful isolation – with Bristol de Mai pulled up.

“It was a fantastic performance,” Blackmore said. “He felt really good today.

“The Gold Cup was a tough day but it’s great to get him back today and it was a brilliant performance.

“He has loads of class, this horse. He beat Chacun Pour Soi over two miles in Leopardstown and has a lot of strings to his bow. He’s a fantastic horse.”

A Plus Tard has now been installed as the favourite for next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup while de Bromhead thinks a defence of his Savills Chase crown could be next up at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.

“He has a preference for left-handed tracks and seems a far superior horse on a left-handed track,” he said.

“The Savills seems the sensible place to go."

Another of de Bromhead’s stable stars, meanwhile, Bob Olinger, made a successful start to life over fences with a convincing win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Gowran Park.

Ridden by this year’s current leading jockey Darragh O’Keeffe, the reigning Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner pulled away to win by six-and-a-half lengths and provide a potential sign of things to come.

“It was some experience,” O’Keeffe said.

"He jumped brilliant and travelled great. It's as good a feeling I've ever got on the racetrack.

"If you want to be critical of him you could say he was a little bit novicey over some of his fences, but it's his first start in a chase and these fences take plenty of jumping. 

“Overall, I thought he jumped very good and he'll come on plenty for today.”

He’s only a seven-year-old and he’s achieved a hell of a lot for his age

- Henry de Bromhead on A Plus Tard

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