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We enjoyed a red letter day at Sandown on Saturday with a high profile double by Whitehotchillifili and Metier capped by a stirring run into third place by Sir Ivan in the £70,000 Veterans’ Chase.
Metier was the undoubted star of the afternoon as he provided our first Grade1 success in the Tolworth Hurdle since our midsummer move to our new yard.
While I was hopeful going to Sandown I doubt any of us him expected to win by the huge margin of twelve lengths from Shakem Up’Harry.
He jumped for fun the whole way tucked in off a strong pace, moved up on the final bend with a double handful, led going to the last flight and ran clean away from the opposition on the run-in.
Very rarely do you see races go so smoothly and certainly not at Grade 1 level. I’m delighted the patience of his owner Gary Stevens has paid off because after buying Metier a year ago he had to wait a long time to see him run.
The horse relished the conditions on Saturday and with all his form with plenty of ease in the ground I wouldn’t be in a hurry to run him if the going dried up.
We have to consider the Supreme at Cheltenham for Metier and though we have yet to decide if he runs again before the Festival he will get an entry in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
Earlier Whitehotchillifili gave the yard a perfect start to the afternoon with a clear cut victory in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle over two and a half miles. Trip and ground were ideal for this talented seven year old and though she had a lot to do with the favourite Stormy Ireland on ratings she was well on top at the line.
A mistake at the second last flight cost Whitehotchillifili momentum as she was coming to challenge Stormy Ireland but she quickly rallied and showed a willing attitude to see off the favourite in the closing stages.
Next up for her could be another Listed Mares’ Hurdle at Warwick in February. Sean Bowen shone on both our winners before our conditional Lorcan Murtagh gave eleven year old Sir Ivan a fine ride as they finished a close third in the highly competitive Veterans’ Chase.
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