The Venetia Williams-trained L’Homme Presse headed the betting in 2022. Extremely impressive when winning the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he warmed up for this with a win in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and looked set to go well.
Narrowly behind him in the market came Bravemansgame, who arrived on the back of a win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Hailing from the yard of the most successful trainer in the history of this race, Paul Nicholls, he was well famcied.
Nicholls was actually responsible for a third of the nine runners, with 2020 champ Frodon and the promising Hitman also making the journey from Ditcheat. Also in the lineup were Gold Cup hopefuls Royal Pagaille and Ahoy Senor, whilst a late gamble suggested a big run was expected from dual Cheltenham Festival winner, Envoi Allen.
- 1st – Bravemansgame 11/4, Jockey: Harry Cobden, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
- 2nd – Royal Pagaille 12/1, Jockey: Tom Scudamore, Trainer: Venetia Williams
- 3rd – Frodon 18/1, Jockey: Bryony Frost, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £142,375
- 2nd – £53,425
- 3rd – £26,750
- 4th – £13,325
- 5th – £6,700
- 6th – £3,350
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £3.75
- Tote Places – 1st – £1.60, 2nd – £2.90, 3rd – £2.70
- Exacta – £33.20
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £34.12
- Trifecta – £292.20
- Tricast – £495.19
Most expected Frodon to set the pace given his front running style, and Bryony Frost didn’t disappoint in sending the 10-year-old straight into the lead. Ahoy Senor and L’Homme Presse quickly settled in behind, but neither really impressed with their jumping, with the favourite, in particular, repeatedly moving out to his left.
There was little real change in the order for much of the second circuit, with the most notable incident seeing Sam Twiston-Davies pull Hitman up four from home. The complexion of the race then began to change three out. With Frodon seemingly beginning to empty in front, Bravemansgame loomed up in behind, travelling ominously well, whilst the well-backed Envoi Allen faded out of contention.
Two from home this was down to a head-to-head battle between Bravemansgame and L’Homme Presse. The Nicholls runner appeared to be comfortably coming out on top, before his task was made a little easier when L’Homme Presse unseated his rider at the final fence. That left Bravemansgame to saunter home, 14 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer.
This was yet another win in the race for Nicholls, who grabbed a remarkable 13th success in the festive showpiece. It was also win number two for Harry Cobden, having previously ridden the Nicholls-trained Clan des Obeaux to victory in 2018.
- 1. Ahoy Senor – SP: 12/1, Trainer: Lucinda Russell, Jockey: Derek Fox
- 2. Bravemansgame – SP: 11/4, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Harry Cobden
- 3. Eldorado Allen – SP: 18/1, Trainer: Joe Tizzard, Jockey: Brendan Powell
- 4. Envoi Allen – SP: 4/1, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
- 5. Frodon – SP: 18/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Bryony Frost
- 6. Hitman – SP: 11/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
- 7. L’Homme Presse – SP: 9/4F, Trainer: Venetia Williams, Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
- 8. Millers Bank – SP: 40/1, Trainer: Alex Hales, Jockey: Jonathan Burke
- 9. Royal Pagaille – SP: 12/1, Trainer: Venetia Williams, Jockey: Tom Scudamore