It was a good day for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power (pictured), who enjoyed three wins in successive races. Favourite backers were also happy, collecting five times out of six. The going was soft.
The first race was a 2m4f chase for conditional jockeys. The fine run of Venetia Williams continued with the victory of Eceparti (13/2), who in 2017 won a steeplechase for three-year-olds in France. Hugh Nugent took him to the front coming out of the back straight, and he maintained a handy lead up the home straight that Twasn’t The Plan couldn’t peg back. He had three lengths to spare at the line.
Good And Hardy (3/1 fav) lived up to his name in the 3m hurdle. The front pair left him behind after the penultimate flight, but on the long run to the last his stamina came into play and he began to make up ground. With a hundred yards to go he took the lead to give Connor Brace and his guv’nor Fergal O’Brien a one and a half length triumph that had looked most unlikely 30 seconds earlier. Accordingtogino finished second.
The first stage of the Tizzard-Power treble came in the 2m novice hurdle. Their Irish point winner and Exeter second Getaway Fred (11/10 fav) had form and proven stamina, and exploited that by making all the running. Cap Du Mathan tried to keep tabs on him, but was beaten off before the last. Shang Tang, held up, made very good late progress to take second place and get to within three lengths of the winner.
Stage two came when Lamanver Pippin (13/8 fav) ran out an easy winner of the 3m chase. Carrying top weight, a particularly bold jump five out left him five lengths ahead. Although Fortescue managed to close at the second last, Pippin lengthened away again to restore his five length superiority, without having too hard a race.
The 2m4f maiden hurdle saw the final instalment of the treble for Tizzard and Power. The four-year-old The Big Breakaway (2/1 fav - pictured) had won his only previous start, an Irish point, and changed hands afterwards for 360,000 euros. He has to accumulate a good few Grade 1s to justify that and he started off in ideal fashion with an extremely impressive win. He kept Blackjack Kentucky company between the last two flights before sauntering to an eight length victory, with the rest of the field well behind.
The finale, a 2m4f handicap hurdle, went to the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Lock’s Corner (3/1 fav). Held up, as J P McManus’s horses generally are, Richie McLernon had weaved his way through the pack but wasn’t finding it easy to get him past Champagne Chaser. However, that one blundered and unseated his rider at the last, leaving the well-backed favourite in the clear. His advantage dwindled to two lengths as he idled in the closing stages, Waiheke leading his pursuers home.