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Unibet Jump Season Opener Report


11 October 2022

The Unibet Jump Season Opener is always targeted by 12 times champion trainer Paul Nicholls and he had three winners from his eight runners at this year’s fixture. The best of them was Knappers Hill in Saturday’s Wasdell Group Silver Trophy.  He was winning at the meeting for third year in a row and now has eight victories from just eleven starts.   

It was an emotional occasion for his part-owner Paul Vogt, whose late wife Ruth was especially fond of the horse.  His other owner, Paul Barber, keeps him at home during the summer months and was determined to end a stay in hospital a few days before, in order to see the horse run.  Plans for Knappers Hill are fluid, but he is a speedy sort who might go for Wincanton’s Elite Hurdle. 

Nicholls and stable jockey Harry Cobden were completing doubles on the day, following Flic Ou Voyou’s success in the John Ayres Memorial Chase.  The horse has had problems with his jumping in the past, but they weren’t in evidence this time. His third winner was Sonigino in Friday’s two mile handicap hurdle. 

Teenage jockey Sam Ewing was in the winners enclosure after the Native River Chase with the Irish raider Peregrine Run, a twelve-year-old who was scoring for the 20th time.  Tom Lacey’s Tea Clipper, attempting to win at this meeting for the third consecutive year, went down by a neck.  24 hours later Ewing rode the winner of the DragonBet Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.  Effernock Fizz is another Irish runner with a lot of miles on the clock, yet has enthusiasm to spare. 

On Friday the Ditcheat runner Outlaw Peter was denied in the Grade 2 Unibet Persian War Novices Hurdle by Fergal O’Brien’s Accidental Rebel, ridden by Paddy Brennan.  The trainer revealed afterwards that for this horse, today “was his Gold Cup”.  He will be rested now but some of the placed horses look sure to go on from here. 

The veterans’ chase was won for the second year in a row by the Michael Scudamore-trained Some Chaos, who trotted up by 21 lengths. 

Trainer Alan King has an excellent record with his flat horses going hurdling and his three-year-old Tuddenham Green made a winning debut over obstacles in Saturday’s Champion Hats Juvenile Hurdle. He was ridden by Daryl Jacob for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. 

The sole Welsh winner over the two days came in Friday’s finale.  Tim Vaughan and Charlie Price combined to take the three mile conditionals’ chase with ex-pointer Galop Du Bosc, who won by 20 lengths.  His new owners, the Optimistic Racing Group, have every reason to live up to their name. 

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