The Coral.co.uk Future Champion Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) Chepstow: The first grade 1 juvenile race of the year produced a very lucky winner in Ruacana. The ex Michael Bell trained flat horse now with John Ferguson for his hurdling campaign looked set for 3rd place as Swnymor stormed through to take it up from Megalypos just before the last flight.Swnymor then came down with a crashing fall, throwing unfortunate jockey Richard Johnson into the path of Megalypos and A P McCoy. McCoys mount was badly hampered and could not recover, allowing Ruacana and Denis O’Regan to come through and take the race. Swnymor would surely have won barring his fall and looks a smart prospect for the future. Corals make the winner 16/1 and the unlucky loser Swnymor 12/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle in March.
The 32Red Hurdle (The Tolworth Hurdle) (Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle) Sandown: A first and well deserved grade 1 victory for trainer Jeremy Scott and jockey Nick Scholfield as Melodic Rendezvous scored an easy victory in the Tolworth Hurdle. A first and well deserved grade 1 victory for trainer Jeremy Scott and jockey Nick Scholfield as Melodic Rendezvous scored an easy victory in the Tolworth Hurdle.The seven year old tracked the leaders until going 2nd just after two out, then taking it up at the last and running on strongly to beat the only other horse to run with any credit, Charlie Longsdon’s Pendra by 4 1/2 lengths. Melodic Rendezvous has earned a trip to the festival and will be entered in both the Supreme Novice and the Neptune.
The Coral Welsh National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase) Chepstow: Ride of the day probably belongs to Paul Carberry, winning the Coral Welsh National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase) on 10/1 shot Monbeg Dude. The Michael Scudamore trained 8yo was held up at the rear for most of the race and despite making mistakes at several fences was brought with a perfectly timed run to join A P McCoy on the favourite Teaforthree at the last. Teaforthree was given a typical strong driving finish by A P, but failed to concede 16 pounds to Monbeg Dude who won by 1/2 length in the grueling conditions.
If ever there was a place for a Sloaney blow-out, we’ve found it: Knightsbridge’s Daniel Galvin Junior. The uber-luxe salon produces MIC-worthy results – you know the type: glossy, shiny, subtly wavy. Expensive hair. The sort we saw sashaying down the Milano runway at Versace SS13, and that Richard Ward has been showcasing on K-Middy all these months. Daniel himself has some pretty impressive ‘sleb credentials too – he’s been colouring the likes of Kelly Brook and Amanda Holden since the salon launched two years ago.
Refreshingly, though, Daniel’s not just all about piling on the products (you know you’ve come across these culprits too). Turns out, to get a true hair-crush-worthy blow-out you need fundamentally healthy hair: step up DGJ’s latest launch – Organic Head. The range is totally free of parabens and is veggie friendly (if there is such a thing in hair-care), whilst packing aragan oil, aloe vera and wheat proteins into a range of shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.
We tried out a detox treatment and blow-dry, and were in and out of the salon in a super speedy hour (we would have loved to stay longer, watching Ab Fab in the massaging chairs. Yes, really). To book, visit the website.
– Olivia Cox (Beauty Editor)
Boxing Day at Kempton saw some great performances in the three grade 1 races, none more impressive than Dynaste in the Feltham Novices Chase, as surprising as the fantastic turn of foot Darlan found to beat a quality field in the Christmas Hurdle, and none braver than Long Run who was out jumped at the last by Captain Chris, but battled heroically up the run in to grab a victory in the last strides of the King George V I Chase. Dynaste outclassed his six rivals in the Feltham, a disappointing field for such a prestigious race. He was settled at the rear in the early stages of the race, jumping into the lead four out and putting the race to bed in effortless style, winning by a very comfortable 9 lengths from the Nicky Henderson trained Hadrian’s Approach. Dynaste jumped superbly throughout the race and although his Cheltenham plans are not set in stone he is a worthy favourite for the RSA chase, and it will take a very good horse to beat him in his present form.
Darlan had missed his last two intended engagements due to ground conditions but had to take his chance today for a much needed race course outing. Connections had no need to worry as Darlan who hadn’t run since beating stable mate Captain Conan in a grade 2 novice hurdle at the Grand National meeting, won the Christmas Hurdle with the minimum of fuss. The race was run at a slow pace due to the testing conditions, but when Darlan took it up after the second last he settled the race with an impressive turn of foot in a matter of strides. Alan Kings Raya Star out stayed the rest into second place but had no chance with the winner, and the Paul Nicholls 4yo novice Dodging Bullets did well to run on into 3rd in front of the disappointing 6/4 favourite Countrywide Flame. Darlan was promptly installed as the new favourite for the Champion Hurdle, but the race still looks to be wide open and could possibly be the most exciting in recent years.
Long Run regained the King George crown which he lost to the now retired Kuato Star last year, with a gutsy hard fought win from Captain Chris. The ground conditions had all bar the first two in trouble from a long way from home. Long Run was no stranger to this type of going, having won several races in his early career in France on similar ground. He was kept handy throughout the race and looked very comfortable until a bad blunder five out. The mistake stopped his momentum and would have put paid to the chances of a lesser horse. Long Run made a great recovery to see off all bar Captain Chris who had come from a long way back with a fantastic ride from Richard Johnson. Johnson urged the tiring Captain Chris into a great jump at the last to take the lead, yet Sam Waley Cohen rode a great finish to get back in front by a neck on the line.
Probably the race of the weekend, with only seven runners (three of them leading contenders for the Champion Hurdle in March), the StanJames.com International Hurdle saw Zarkandar hit the front from Rock On Ruby just before the last hurdle. The horse powered up to hill to hold a late challenge from Grandouet by two lengths, with a tiring Rock On Ruby finishing a further six lengths back in third. To be fair to the second and third placed horses, they were giving 4lb to Zarkandar and both were coming back from a long absence. Grandouet had not run since winning this race last year due to an infected fetlock joint. Last years Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby hadn’t run since Aintree in April, when he ran third to Oscar Whisky. Both horses were entitled to come on for the run, but you couldn’t help but be impressed by the Paul Nicholls trained Zarkandar who looked a much stronger horse this year, and a live contender for the hurdling crown in March.
It had been a mixed week of triumph and tragedy for Paul and his staff at Ditcheat, starting with the sad and well publicized departure of the much loved Kauto Star from the yard, followed by the loss of Cristal Bonus who was fatally injured in the Paul Stewart Ironspine charity Gold Cup. Nicholls won the aforesaid race with the 4yo Unioniste, the only 4yo to win in the history of the race formerly known as the Massey Ferguson and first run in 1963.
The anticipated seasonal reappearance of champion elect, Sprinter Sacre did not disappoint this weekend in what was regarded as his stiffest task to date. The front running tactics of the Paul Nicholls trained Sanctuaire which had resulted in emphatic wins in his last three races, did not work on this occasion. Sanctuaire won the Fred Winter Juvenile grade 3 novices handicap hurdle at the Cheltenham festival in 2010, however his hurdling career did not take off as expected, it wasn’t until he was tried over fences earlier this year that his true vocation was found. He won all of his three chases in great style, including a 17 length win over Somersby in the grade 2 Celebration Chase over the course and distance at Sandown. As expected Sanctuaire and Ruby Walsh set off to make the running at a decent pace with the 4/11 favourite Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty keeping a respectful but close enough 8 to 10 lengths behind in 2nd for much of the race.
The favourite did make a couple of untidy jumps in the early stages of the race, but soon got into a comfortable flowing rhythm and the leading pair soon had the rest of the field struggling to keep pace. Sprinter Sacre started to make up ground at the railway fences, drawing along side Sanctuaire and jumping into the lead at the pond fence three from home. It was game over for the rest as he jumped the last with a mighty leap and with Geraghty looking round for none existing dangers went on to win by 15 lengths. The brave efforts of Sanctuaire finally took their toll and the tired horse made a bad jump at the last, allowing Alan King’s Kumbeshwar to come from a long way back to take 2nd on the run in to the line. Sprinter Sacre is now around 2/5 for the Queen Mothers Champion Chase in March, and could run next in the Victor Chandler at Ascot in January.