BetBright Dipper Novices' Chase (Registered As The Dipper Novices' Steeple Chase)
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 13:25
£35,000 added 5yo+
2m 4f 166y, Class 1
|Monday 1st January 2018
1 Yanworth 15/8J
Sizing Tennessee 12/1
Willoughby Court 15/8J
5 ran Distances: nk, 8l, 3½l
Time: 5m 34.50s (slow by 31.50s)
Yanworth provides 1,500th winner for Alan King
The five runners for this G2 novices' chase sponsored by BetBright were almost in a line three out.
But earlier mistakes by Ballyandy
(Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies) and Willoughby Court
(Ben Pauling/Nico de Boinville, 15/8 joint favourite) compromised their chances.
Front-running Sizing Tennessee (Colin Tizzard/Bryan Cooper) was challenged from two out by Yanworth
(Alan King/Barry Geraghty) who took the lead with a great leap at the last.
Yanworth went at least two lengths clear only to look around and let the rallying Sizing Tennessee back in the contest.
Barry Geraghty was at his strongest to get Yanworth home by neck at the line, with Willoughby Court eight lengths back in third.
Alan King, who trains in Wiltshire, said: "Yanworth's jumping was pretty good, especially when he was short which we have worked on.
"Full credit to Wayne (Hutchinson) and Yogi Breisner, who have done a lot of work with him. They've had two good sessions to get him to shorten a little bit and that was evident.
"Yanworth has gone and winged the last and I thought he was going to win by two or three lengths and then he's suddenly pricked his ears. Luckily, when the other horse came to him, he went on again.
"It's not been straightforward, but he was much better today. That was a big step in the right direction.
"I think he will have entries in the JLT
and the RSA
(at The Festival in March), but he wants another run. I would imagine we will look at something like the Reynoldstown (Ascot, February 17) or the Scilly Isles (Sandown, February 3) beforehand."
Barry Geraghty explained: "That was a better performance. Alan has done a good bit of work with Yanworth, along with Yogi Breisner, and it has definitely helped his jumping.
"He was still slow enough at one or two fences - the third-last and fifth-last - and has a bit to learn, but he is going the right way.
"He dossed when he got to the front - as soon as the second came upsides, he went on again.
"It is safe ground, but hard work and he is a classy good mover who will only be better on nicer ground."
Sizing Tennessee's trainer Colin Tizzard declared: "We never quite got by up the run-in. He is a good horse now. He would in all probability have beaten Black Corton first time up, but he frightened himself at the top of the hill.
"He won last time and we schooled him this week and he looked like he was back. I think he will be RSA-bound now."
Ben Pauling added: "Nothing will change for Willoughby Court, who will go straight for the RSA.
"I just didn't really feel that he was quite as fluent as he had been at Newbury and he was not able to operate on this ground like he can do.
"It was a proper mistake he made at the top of the hill (four out), but he was still only beaten eight lengths so it wasn't a bad run."
BetBright Dipper Novices' Chase (Grade 2)
£35,000 added 5yo+ 2m 4f 166y, Class 1
Going: Heavy, Soft in places
||B J Geraghty
||Sizing Tennessee (IRE) 12/1
||B J Cooper
|C L Tizzard
||Willoughby Court (IRE) 15/8j
||Nico de Boinville
|N A Twiston-Davies
||Ami Desbois (FR) 12/1
||P J Brennan