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We enjoyed a high-profile double at Cheltenham on Wednesday 17 April in just over half an hour with In Excelsis Deo and Hymac both winning competitive handicaps with something to spare.
In Excelsis Deo was the first to strike in the valuable Grade 2 Handicap Chase over two miles, five furlongs in the colours of JP McManus. He has been unlucky on a couple of occasions this season and had finished strongly when fifth in the Plate at the Cheltenham Festival a month ago.
Johnny Burke did a good job keeping him focused on Wednesday before a lovely jump at the final fence saw them stretch clear on the hill. In Excelsis Deo is still only a six year old and hopefully there will be more to come.
Next it was the turn of Hymac, a rangy type who missed a fair bit of last season and was always going to be a chaser. From a very early stage he was in a great rhythm, jumping soundly, and once he led at the fourteenth fence it looked as though he was likely to be involved at the finish. So it proved as he kept on willingly to beat Midnight Our Fred by one and a half lengths.
It has taken three runs this campaign for him to gain full confidence and the step up in distance to three and a half miles seemed to suit him well. Hymac is lightly raced for his age and this victory give us some nice options next season over marathon trips.
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