Brave Is Bold in Charlie Hall Demolition

October 29, 2022

Bravemansgame sensational in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (JTW Equine Images)

By Tom Williams

Racing is a brave man’s game.

And it was certainly that, as Bravemansgame was clinical, powerful and sensational, as he stormed away to victory in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby under a confident Harry Cobden. 

Sent off second favourite at 2/1 after the market support for chief rival Ahoy Senor arrived on the morning of the race, the seven-year-old produced a faultless display of jumping efficiency, popping and meeting his fences with precision and prowess, as he took the race for trainer Paul Nicholls, in the process granting him a fifth success in the feature of the season at the Yorkshire track. 

The race was billed as a match between the two at the top of the betting, with the Ditcheat handler’s charge being pitched against the hero of the Scottish borders in Ahoy Senor, trained by the maestro that is Lucinda Russell. 

Ahoy Senor was leading the head-to-head with Bravemansgame two to one going into the contest, with two stylish victories at Aintree 12 months apart over his rival giving him an advantage. Indeed, many believed it would be three to one at the end of the race. 

Racing rarely goes to plan, and there is no such thing as a certainty in this sport. Ahoy Senor was fresh and lacked some fluency, having to be clever at various fences, particularly the open ditch in the back, where he got in tight and clipped the take off board.

Compare that to Bravemansgame, who was fluent all the way around, and simply towering over his fences, including the ditches. Long or short, fast or steady. It need not matter as he met his fences with ease and jumped with aplomb and enthusiasm. 

All his pilot needed to do was keep him out of danger, and ease him into the race and he was assured of victory. He did justly so, coming clear from two out and producing a good leap over the last to secure victory by just shy of 4 lengths.

He now heads to Kempton Park on Boxing Day with a live chance of victory, currently second favourite at around 5/2 behind Allaho. 

The King George has always been seen as an ideal type of race for Bravemansgame, with his trainer not looking to go for a race like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but more something a bit more festive.

“To me the King George is absolutely made for him”, he reported afterwards. “He’s one of the best we have had… he’s right up there”.

“Our aim has been the King George…. And after that see where we go”.

Whilst Cheltenham may not be his cup of tea, Bravemansgame may be going for some alternative targets, with his trainer far from shrewd when thinking of potential routes for his star staying chaser. 

“He could be suited to Leopardstown or Punchestown, there’s some really good races to go to”. 

Harry Cobden, the winning jockey, stated afterwards that he felt the horse had been in “third gear” all the way round. 

“He jumped and galloped all the way to the line”, he noted in a post-race debrief to connections. “That was the best feeling he’s ever given me”. 

“Our horse did it well”.

Paul was very glowing of his winner, and continued afterwards, noting the sheer talent his charge has.

“He’s won a Kauto Star and a Challow Hurdle, and that was probably as good a performance as he has produced”.

Photo by JTW Equine Images

“He’s worked the last two weekends with Hitman and Monmiral, and they both struggled to work with him”. “He’s got a lot of class”.

“When he’s right he’s a decent horse. I’m learning all the time what to do with him. He doesn’t want to run too often”. 

“Last year he was still a weak horse. He’s stronger ( this season ), he’s getting there physically”. 

Of the beaten runners, Lucinda Russell noted of Ahoy Senor that he “ran a bit free”, but that she was “delighted he’s back safe”. 

“We will stick with the plans that we had and go to Aintree for the Many Clouds”.

Joe Tizzard’s grey, Eldorado Allen, rallied past Sam Brown on the run in to take second place behind the runaway winner, with the trainer looking forward to racing him more “aggressively” at other meetings in the season, now that it would appear he gets the trip.

“He’ll get an entry for the Betfair Chase”, he noted to reporters afterwards. 

The Charlie Hall whets the appetite for the season ahead, and it certainly shall be a season to savour if the drama keeps flowing at the rate it is. 

One star however is in ascendancy, and could well lay claim to being Britain’s best staying chaser. There is just one more question.

Is it Christmas yet?

@jonathanstettin wowwwwwww , the best … Felt like i was watching a movie!!!! , then realized it should be a film , super informative !!

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