Atakan (blue silks) and Blame The Game jump the last in the Sussex National
Atakan (blue silks) and Blame The Game jump the last in the Sussex National

The Joe Tizzard-trained Atakan landed a fantastic edition of the BetGoodwin Sussex National on Monday to continue the family’s success in the marathon contest.

Tizzard – son of the Sussex National’s winningmost trainer Colin, who landed the valuable contest in 2003, 2008 and 2020 – took over from his dad just a few months ago but has already made his mark at Plumpton courtesy of Atakan’s neck win over Blame The Game, who represented last year’s winning combination of Chris Gordon and Tom Cannon.

That was only Atakan’s third chase start and there appears to be plenty of improvement left in the seven-year-old, who also won at Plumpton on October 31st.

“I quietly fancied him today, I thought we’d be placed definitely,” winning rider Brendan Powell told Sky Sports Racing.

“For a horse that is only having his third run over fences his jumping is good. He made all when he won round here in a novice chase, but I didn’t want to commit him too soon and it worked out quite well as I had some company and something to aim at turning in. I thought I would keep waiting on him and thankfully it worked.”

Elsewhere on the card we saw plenty of potential top-class horses, including last year’s Challow Hurdle winner Stage Star who jumped beautifully enroute to a comfortable success for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. The seven-year-old is being lined-up for a tilt at Cheltenham in March and it will be interesting to follow his progress for the remainder of the season.

Stage Star pictured jumping the last fence en route to a comfortable win
Foot-perfect Stage Star pictured jumping the last fence

Hansard – winner of the two-mile Novices’ Hurdle for Gary and Jamie Moore – is another who has Cheltenham on his agenda for the spring. He had a 7lb penalty to contend with on Monday but won going away from the 126-rated Master Chewy. This race has been won by some very smart horses in recent years (including Aucunrisque 2022 and Highway One O Two 2020 – both of whom have since gone on to win in Graded company) and Hansard looks another with a big future. We look forward to seeing where he lines up next!

The Milton Harris-trained Twinjets made easy work of his Novices’ Hurdle, which was run over 2m4½f, to make it four wins from five starts. He gave 6lbs to each of his six rivals and dispatched them with ease over two-and-a-half miles, so he will be worth keeping an eye on next-time-out, when he will likely be upped in class.

Despite Harry Cobden notching a treble, there can be no arguments about ride of the day being awarded to Michael Nolan for his impeccably well-judged effort aboard En Coeur, who notched his fourth Plumpton win. Nolan kept En Coeur well out the back for the majority of the two-and-a-half-mile contest and patiently waited until after the third-last before making his move. He reeled the leaders in with ease and breezed to a 13-length success for Seamus Mullins.