Corbetts Cross bidding to complete Cheltenham-Aintree double

By Sports Desk April 10, 2024

Emmet Mullins’ Corbetts Cross is bidding for the Cheltenham-Aintree double as he prepares to contest the William Hill Bowl Chase on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.

The chestnut was a wide-margin winner at the Cheltenham Festival, taking the Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup by 17 lengths under Derek O’Connor.

That run proved his stamina and his ability in heavy ground, and now his class will be tested as he steps down in trip from three miles and six furlongs to three miles and a furlong at Aintree.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “He’s probably in at the deep end, but he’s in good form, came out of Cheltenham very well and Emmet was keen enough to have a crack at it.

“The other horse is in the three-mile novice, Inothewayurthinkin, so we said we’d give Corbetts Cross a crack at this and see how we get on.

“He’s obviously coming back from Cheltenham where he had a hard enough race and he is in at the deep end, but as long as he runs well and gets round we’ll be happy.”

Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin is the reigning champion in the race but has met with mixed fortunes this year, refusing to race in the  1965 Chase at Ascot and then falling with the race at his mercy in the King George VI Chase.

He bounced back to stroll to victory in the Denman Chase but his participation in the Gold Cup was prevented by an unsatisfactory scope ahead of the race during a difficult time for the Seven Barrows stable.

“Nico rode him on Saturday and said he felt fantastic, we’re ready to rock and roll I hope,” Henderson told Unibet.

“We had to miss the Gold Cup but there was nothing else you could do, it just hasn’t been his year.

“The King George, you could argue whether he would or he wouldn’t have won – I’ve always felt that he would have won.

“Let’s hope he can put it all to rights, he certainly deserves it.”

Gordon Elliott will saddle the Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe in the race after he missed out by three and a half lengths when last seen in the Cotswolds in March.

The gelding has course and distance form as he was the winner of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the meeting last year with an easy seven-and-a-half-length success.

“I’m really happy with Gerri Colombe, he worked great on Monday morning,” the trainer told At The Races.

“We were a bit disappointed with him after the Savills Chase, so we were delighted to see him come back to himself when running so well in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He seems to be improving all the time and can hopefully step up again. He handles soft ground very well, but he travelled great on nicer ground at Aintree last year, so I don’t think he’s one dimensional that way.”

Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame also ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but did not run up to his mark when tailed off in fifth.

Nicholls felt the conditions did not suit him and will also experiment with cheekpieces as the bay looks to return to form in Liverpool.

“Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Bravemansgame this season,” he said to Betfair.

“He hated the testing conditions at Cheltenham and it was clear from an early stage in the Gold Cup that he wasn’t handling them.

“The flat track at Aintree will suit him better and the ground shouldn’t be as deep as at Cheltenham.

“We are putting cheekpieces on Bravemansgame to help sharpen him up. It’s something we almost tried last time. His regular rider Scott Marshall was very pleased with the way he worked on Saturday morning.”

Mouse Morris’ Gentlemansgame is another contender last seen in the Gold Cup, where he was pulled up two from home following a more fruitful start to the season that saw him finish second in the PWC Champion Chase and win the Charlie Hall.

Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor was second behind Shishkin in the race last term and lines up in a bid to go one better after coming home in the middle of the pack in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham when last seen.

Olly Murphy’s Thunder Rock completes the field, winner of the Listed bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso in early March.

Related items

  • Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments

    Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, have called for a review of Rule 44 (iii) enforced by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) following the cancellation of two races during the April 27 race meet at Caymanas Park.

    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

    "We were not consulted during the initial discussions on this rule, and now, with two races abandoned in a single race day, our concerns have materialized," Sharpe explained. "SVREL is open to collaborating with the JRC to review and refine this amended rule."

    Representatives from the Grooms Association, Jockeys Association, and the United Racehorse Trainers Association echoed SVREL's concerns and supported the call for a review of Rule 44.

    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

  • Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday

    Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has expressed regret and disappointment following the abandonment of two races during the Saturday, April 27 race day at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.

    The decision to abandon these races, SVREL said, was made in compliance with regulations set forth by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), leading to the refund of all related pools according to SVREL's Pari-mutuel rules.

    According to the statement released by SVREL late Saturday, the abandonment of races number one and six, respectively, was declared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) due to delays that exceeded the permitted time frame as stipulated by Rule 44(iii).

    Specifically, in race number one, scheduled to commence at 12:00 pm, a saddling issue with horse number five and a mandatory veterinary check for horse number eight, which reared and fell after exiting the saddling barn, resulted in delays beyond the allowable limit.

    Similarly, race number six, slated for 3:10 pm, was delayed due to a horse running loose, ultimately leading to its abandonment by the stewards of the JRC.

    SVREL explained that the recent amendments to Rule 44(iii), which came into effect from April 1, 2024, mandate strict adherence to race start times with a maximum allowance of five minutes after the published post time. SVREL noted that Jamaica is unique in enforcing such a rule without prior consultation with the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica.

    The enforcement of this rule has led to financial losses for industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, punters, and the promoter and as such the disruption caused by the abandonment of these races understandably resulted in unrest among stakeholder groups.

    Despite the challenges faced, the race meet resumed with race number seven at approximately 4:00 pm, SVREL noted.

    SVREL has now issued a sincere apology to valued customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of races one and six by the JRC. SVREL also emphasized its readiness for open dialogue with the JRC and all impacted stakeholders to ensure the continued success and integrity of the horseracing industry.

    As the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica, SVREL said it remains committed to addressing challenges collaboratively and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service within the industry.


  • Light seeking to shine again at Sandown Light seeking to shine again at Sandown

    Kitty’s Light is taking aim at his usual season finisher in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

    The gelding has been a star for trainer Christian Williams, winning big handicap events like the Eider Chase and the Scottish Grand National and going close in the Charlie Hall and the Coral Trophy.

    He has particularly good record in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season, missing out only due to interference when second in 2021 and coming home third in 2022.

    Last year he was completed the set of podium finishes when winning by two and a half lengths under usual jockey Jack Tudor.

    The two are well acquainted and teamed up for Kitty’s Light’s Grand National bid at Aintree earlier in the month, where he ran a valiant race to finish fifth behind four Grade-One winning Irish chasers.

    Williams was incredibly proud of his stable star and is now hoping the gelding can shine again in the Sandown contest he has found to be lucrative in the past.

    “It was wonderful, we trained him to win the race and we thought he could, but you couldn’t be disappointed with what he did,” Williams said of the National performance.

    “We were thrilled, the horse tried his best and we were very, very proud of horse and jockey.

    “He’s come out of it very well, if the race was run today even then he’d be running, he’s in good form.

    “He loves it at Sandown with the big fences, his jumping has come on now but even as a five-year-old he nearly won the race.

    “He was third the year after that, it really seems to suit him.

    “I think he likes going right-handed, he hangs a little bit right at home and he seems to really enjoy it there.

    “We’re taking our chance anyway, he seems well and we’ll hope for the best.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.