Reveley shows perfect timing on Upsilon Bleu

Upsilon Bleu, ridden by James Reveley, clears the last fence to win the William Hill Castleford Handicap Chase at Wetherby (Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire).

JAMES Reveley’s French 
connections paid off when the Yorkshire rider guided 
Upsilon Bleu to an impressive victory in the William Hill Castleford Chase, the day two highlight of Wetherby’s Christmas meeting.

The Saltburn rider, who divides his time between the north of England and France, partnered the promising chaser to victory at Auteuil – Paris’s premier jumps track – at the beginning of the month and this mission paid off closer to home.

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He bided his time down the back straight on the Pauline Robson-trained chaser before taking the final four fences in the home straight with consummate ease as the plucky challenge of Sue Smith’s De Boitron, the mount of Andrew Tinkler, began to fade on rain softened ground.

Reveley had nearly a length in hand over Nicky Henderson’s fast-finishing French Opera with De Boitron back in third – a longer trip, on quicker ground, will clearly suit this stalwart of Yorkshire racing who turns 11 on New Year’s Day.

Upsilon Bleu is owned by Raymond Anderson Green whose colours will always be associated with two-time Scottish National hero Merigo. He says the winner loves soft ground and will, in time, stay two and a half miles.

As for Reveley, it was his third winner at Wetherby’s prestigious meeting. Hail The Brave was a Boxing Day winner for Middleham’s Phil Kirby while the jockey also rode A Doll In Milan to victory on Saturday for 
Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Perhaps the most pleasing 
aspect was the 5,000-plus crowd on Saturday which took the two-day tally at Wetherby to more than 17,000 spectators, much to the delight of chief executive Jonjo Sanderson.

Meanwhile Yorkshire-based riders continued to prosper at Catterick yesterday. Callum Bewley, a conditional attached to Sue Smith’s Bingley yard took the opener aboard Macgillycuddy – the jockey had been re-routed from a snow-bound Leicester – before Middleham-based jockey John Kington completed a double aboard Air Chief and Foot The Bill for Andrew Crook and Patrick Holmes respectively.

North Yorkshire’s Brian Hughes, fifth in the national standings, recorded his 66th winner of the campaign when Mantou prevailed. The rider is deserving of a first career century.

Not to be outdone, Guiseley-based Jonathan England won on the Smith-trained Oorayvic before Adam Nicol, who rides out in Middleham, took the finale on Brunello.

However today’s meeting at Doncaster, the final fixture of the William Hill Winter Festival, became a weather casualty.

Bryan Cooper, the jockey who suffered potentially career-ending leg injuries at the Cheltenham Festival, enjoyed one of the finest days of his career when partnering Road To Riches to victory in Leopardstown’s Grade One Lexus Chase. Cooper’s mount, trained by Noel Meade, galloped clear of On His Own while Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere, the last two Gold Cup winners, never got into contention. The winner’s odds for Cheltenham’s showpiece race were cut from 16-1 to 12-1 with William Hill, according to spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

The in-form jockey was completing a treble for Gigginstown House Stud after earlier wins on novice hurdler Identity Thief and the Sandra Hughes-trained Lieutenant Colonel, which could be bound for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Aidan Coleman has hailed his last gasp Coral Welsh National winner aboard Emperor’s Choice as the best of his career. Equally eyecatching was Mike Tindall’s Monbeg Dude who defied a huge weight to finish fourth – the Crabbie’s Grand National is his target.

David Pipe says William Hill King George VI Chase runner-up Dynaste will have one preparation run before lining up in the Ryanair Chase or Betfred Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He’s come out of his race a lot better than at Haydock,” said the trainer yesterday.