Dashel Drasher Fends Off Paisley Park To Win Classic Coral Long Distance Hurdle

Racegoers were treated to another exciting finish in the Grade 2 Coral Long Distance Hurdle with Dashel Drasher holding off a late challenge from Paisley Park to win the feature race on day one of the Coral Gold Cup meeting at Newbury Racecourse. After four second place finishes in graded company last season, the ten-year-old, trained by Jeremy Scott, won the feature race of the day by a head to the rallying eleven-year-old, Paisley Park. The victory provided jockey Rex Dingle with the first Grade 2 win of his career.

The eagerly anticipated debut run from Jeriko Du Reponet was a successful one for the Nicky Henderson trained four-year-old. The winner of his sole point-to-point start, he was given a cool ride from Nico de Boinville to land a three and a quarter length victory in the first race of the day. There was much speculation having caught the eye at the Coral Gold Cup gallops morning and the JP McManus runner was impressive with a dominant display over hurdles. Trainer Chris Gordon had second and third with King William Rufus and Sea Invasion, both starting at 40-1.

The in-form Venetia Williams team continued their good run of form with a comfortable victory in the Coral Racing Club Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase with Djelo. The five-year-old backed up his win at Aintree to land a five and a half-length victory in the second race of the day over 2m½f.

Gordon Elliott had two runners in the third race, the Listed Coral Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle, Wodhooh and Doctor Nightingale. Wodhooh, sent off 2/5 favourite, landed his fourth consecutive victory, maintaining a 100% strike over hurdles having run four times on the flat for Sir Michael Stoute. The three-year-old, ridden by Jack Kennedy, joined long-time leader Max of Stars two out and went on to land a comfortable victory for the Irish raiders.

The team of Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden landed the first of their two winners on the day in the Grade 2 Coral John Francome Novices’ Chase. The winner of last year’s Coral Challow Novices’ Hurdle, Hermes Allen, made a winning start to his chasing career in the 2m4f contest when sent off 13/8 favourite. Kandoo Kid provided the Ditcheat team with a quickfire double when landing the Coral Racing Club Handicap Chase after a costly mistake at the last from long-time leader Frero Banbou.

It was a day of winning favourites with six of the seven races won by favourites. Sam Thomas and Sam Twiston-Davies continued the trend when landing victory in the last race of the day with the 100/30 favourite Ed Keeper. The five-year-old, having his second run in handicaps was stepping up to three miles for the first time following his second-place finish at Ascot earlier in November over 2m3½f.

The covers are being re-applied to the track following the conclusion of racing with an inspection due at 7:30am on Saturday morning ahead of Coral Gold Cup day. Tickets are available to purchase on the gate with the feature race, the Coral Gold Cup, taking place at 2:50pm.