Menorah springs Charlie Hall surprise at Wetherby

Menorah and Richard Johnson jump the last fence as they go on and win the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase during the Charlie Hall Chase day at Wetherby Racecourse. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire
Menorah and Richard Johnson jump the last fence as they go on and win the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase during the Charlie Hall Chase day at Wetherby Racecourse. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire
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Menorah gave the Philip Hobbs team a second consecutive Saturday big-race triumph when running out a ready winner of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

Successful with Wishfull Thinking in the Old Roan Chase last weekend, Menorah (8-1) sprang a small surprise in the staying feature.

Silviniaco Conti, the evens favourite, set out to make all but he was collared at the second-last fence and faded out of contention.

Richard Johnson then drove the nine-year-old out to score by four lengths from Taquin Du Seuil, who just pipped Double Ross for second spot.

Paddy Power gave Menorah a quote of 10-1 for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Hobbs was at Ascot, where he said: “Delighted. He’s a fantastic horse, he’s a Cheltenham Festival winner and he’s won plenty of other races.

“I think it’s the first time he’s won over three miles. I suppose you have to think about King Georges and races like that.

“That wasn’t the first thought this morning, but we’re going to have to go that sort of route, I’d have thought.

“I suppose we needed Silviniaco Conti to run below par for us to have a chance, which he has. Anyway, he’s run fantastic.”

Johnson said: “He’s always been a good horse, winning a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and Philip has got his horses in fantastic form at the moment. With Wishfull Thinking winning last week and this lad today, we’ve had a great few days.

“He jumped well and travelled nicely today. I just had to steer him. I took him wide, so that he could get a clear view of his fences. On this nice ground he stays three miles well, but I definitely think he’s better on a flatter track.”

Jonjo O’Neill said of Taquin Du Seuil: “I’m delighted with him, and he would have run better with a better gallop. He jumps better the faster they go. We’re back on track now and we will head for the Betfair and races like that.

“All he did was stay, he wants it a bit softer.”

Paul Nicholls expects Silviniaco Conti to improve for the run.

He said: “He is just getting a bit lazier, Noel (Fehily) said he got very tired. What he needs now is a real end-to-end gallop like he’ll get in the King George. He needed a race to tighten up and he should improve for the run.

“Basically, he has run OK. He’ll go Betfair, King George and Gold Cup.”