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.
heart was in my mouth as normal but he was brilliant, and Rachael was brilliant
as ever,” de Bromhead said.
went back to two miles last year and having been beaten twice, we thought we
better look for another option.
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.
a great crowd and we always get such a warm reception here.
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.”
de Mai was bidding to join Kauto Star as a four-time Betfair Chase winner and
made the early running alongside Royal Pagaille.
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
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.
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.
was a fantastic performance,” Blackmore said. “He felt really good today.
Gold Cup was a tough day but it’s great to get him back today and it was a
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.”
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.
has a preference for left-handed tracks and seems a far superior horse on a
left-handed track,” he said.
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.”