Top pointer/hunter chaser Latenightpass is reported fit and well after his Cheltenham heroics on Friday.
Pippa Ellis’s ten-year-old ran a stormer to finish second of 13 runners, beaten a length and three-quarters in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase on his first attempt at such a contest and trip. Ten-time women’s champion Gina Andrews was in the saddle once again, having won 12 races on Latenightpass whose CV includes a victory in Aintree’s Randox Foxhunters’ Chase.
The gelding was moved to Dan Skelton’s yard a couple of weeks ago in order to run in the race, leaving Tony and Pippa Ellis’s farm for the first time in his life. Andrews said this morning: “My sister [Bridget] is looking after him and she sent me video yesterday of him trotting up sound. He’s eaten up and he’s fine.
“We were over the moon with the run and couldn’t have asked for more. It took him two or three fences to warm up and overall his jumping was a bit big and needs to be more economical.
“The trip [nearly three and three-quarters of a mile] was no problem. I got to the quarters of the winner [Irish raider Foxy Jacks, pictured above on the run-in] at the last fence and thought I’d go past him, but he kept picking up while Latenightpass just stayed on. We were disappointed not to win, but he ran a terrific race.”
Andrews, a Cheltenham Festival-winning rider, is no stranger to challenges, and loves a day behind hounds, but said: “The race felt very fast. When you watch on TV they just seem to be going steadily round and round, but it felt as though they went very quick. It was jump, turn, jump, turn.
“The reception we got felt like we’d won. It was a great day. The plan now is to go back there for the next cross-country race in January. That is a handicap and he might go up a few pounds to 139 for Friday’s effort. If he were to win that race there is talk of going for the Grand National, but he would need to be rated 145 to have any chance of getting in, and that race is now down to 32 runners.
“The cross-country race at the Festival is run at level weights, and it would be asking a lot to take on 160-rated horses, so a decision will be made after his next run in January. The Aintree Foxhunters’ is still a possible target.
“He’s a family pet and we’ll never have another one like him.”
BRITISH POINTERS SOLD AT TATTERSALLS CHELTENHAM
Three British pointers were offered at Tattersalls Cheltenham’s November Sale after racing on Friday.
The Bradley Gibbs-trained filly Reine Des Tartes, who won a young-horse maiden at Badbury Rings recently, was knocked down for £30,000 to John Kilbride of Kilbride Equine. He said training plans were undecided.
Reine Des Tartes circles the packed Tattersalls Cheltenham sales ring (Ce)
Machu Picchu, the Chris Barber-trained four-year-old who was second to Reine Des Tartes at Badbury Rings, was sold to Highflyer Bloodstock for £13,000, while Noble Don turned a profit for Devon trainer Ian Chanin and partners when selling to agent Marcus Collie for £26,000. Noble Don, who was second in a Tattersalls-sponsored maiden at Dunsmore on the opening day of the season, had been bought for £8,000 at Doncaster in May last year.