COLIN TIZZARD was philosophical after defending champion Cue Card’s defeat in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase.
He cited a lack of race sharpness and the fact that the winner, Irish Cavalier, ran three weeks ago at Chepstow.
“He just got tired, that’s all. I thought he was going to win, but he tired after the second-last,” said Tizzard after Cue Card’s third place finish.
“He’s only been beaten by two lengths, so we’ll go to Haydock (Betfair Chase) and see where we are at. I’d sooner he won, but I’m delighted with him.
“I thought he ran a fantastic race – it was a horse race and we’re not going to win them all.”
As for the gutsy runner-up Menorah, the 11-year-old needs good ground and his ultimate target remains the end-of-season Celebration Chase at Sandown where he will seek to win this contest for a fourth successive year next April.
“He just met a couple of fences wrong in the straight and that might have cost him,” said trainer Philip Hobbs. “Take nothing away from the winner, but we’d have been closer without the mistakes.”
Jack Sherwood was another young rider to open his Grade Two account, steering Silsol home in the West Yorkshire Hurdle for Paul Nicholls.
“He’s won a Welsh Champion Hurdle with me too and is my favourite horse,” said Sherwood whose father, Simon, won the 1989 Gold Cup on Desert Orchid.
“I’ve been with Paul three years and he was the first horse I rode there.
“I’ve had a Cheltenham winner (Ibis Du Rheu), but this is my first Grade Two.”
A compelling day began with Double W maintaining his unbeaten record over fences with a near-faultless display in the Racinguk.com Chase.
Malcolm Jefferson’s chestnut hinted at his ability over hurdles, but since being sent over the bigger obstacles this season has already taken his form to a new level. He looked a natural on his chasing debut at Carlisle and up in class on this occasion he once again jumped like an old hand under Brian Hughes, who then won the finale on Blue Rambler.
“He’ll be better in a stronger race,” said Malton-based Jefferson. “What I do now I don’t know. We could do with a limited handicap up to 150, but there aren’t any. He needs more experience before going up in class, ideally.”
Dan Skelton’s Stephanie Frances survived a final-flight blunder to win the OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle. The eight-year-old has been chasing of late, but picked up some valuable black type for connections under a confident Bridget Andrews.
Hartnell, previously trained by Middleham’s Mark Johnston before becoming part of Godolphin’s Australian string, remains favourite for tomorrow’s Melbourne Cup where the colt’s rivals are set to include Ebor winner Heartbreak City.