Sunday January 6th 2019 - Sky Sports Racing Sussex National
2019 began with a bang as Master Dino, the highest-rated performer seen for a long while at Plumpton by Timeform, ran out a convincing winner in a fantastic Follow At The Races On Twitter Novices' Chase. The French raider, the top four-year-old over hurdles at home in 2018, saw off a cracking field in tremendous style under Daryl Jacob, coming well clear of local-challenger Knocknanuss. Sadly Guillaume Macaire's charge will miss the rest of the year with a leg injury but hopefully he can come back in 2020. Every other horse from the race needs keeping on side, not least the Gary Moore-trained runner-up, Knocknanuss who ran a screamer from the front having to concede 5 lb to the much-younger winner, and wouldn't look out of place in the Arkle.
The Cheltenham Festival could also be on the agenda for the well-regarded Phoenix Way, who was value for much more than the winning-margin of a length in the Visit attheraces.com EBF Novices' Hurdle. It was a dream of a spare ride for Aidan Coleman on the £270,000 buy and he'll go on improving for Harry Fry.
The betting was spot on in the Watch Sky Sports Racing In HD Novices' Hurdle as the odds-on Brandon Castle made it two from two over course and distance, seeing off market-rival Zoffany Bay from the home turn under a canny front-running ride from Bryony Frost. Baddesley Prince stayed on well to split the pair and looks a winner-in-waiting in a handicap.
The Two Amigos is quickly emerging as one of the most-likeable young staying chasers around and landed the biggest prize of his career so far in the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National. A prolific point to point winner upon leaving David Pipe, the seven-year-old was taking his tally to three wins from four starts over fences for Nicky Martin and there is no telling when his improvement will end.
Duc Kauto saw out over yard in the Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle for Colin Tizzard and Harry Cobden. There are more prizes to be won with him, not least when he makes the switch to fences.
First Quest landed a gamble in the Watch Today's Race Replays On attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle. He put in a cracking round of jumping back under Robbie Dunne, relishing the emphasis on speed, and should remain competitive for Jim Boyle.
Alf 'N' Dor took advantage of a drop in the weights in the Follow At The Races On Facebook Handicap Chase for Peter and Sean Bowen.