King asserts in the Classic to maintain reputation in big handicaps

16-January-2021
16-January-2021 20:02
in General
by Peter McNeile

The Barbury Castle winner machine that is Alan King has been enjoying plenty of success in bread and butter races, but to maintain a position at racing's top table, it's the big races that enable you both to catch the eye and rack up some valuable prize money on which your ranking is decided. 

Such is Alan's reputation that we've grown to expect winners in the big Pattern and handicaps that punctuate the National Hunt season, and today, he added Warwick's Classic Chase to that collection at a course that was always a favourite for former boss and mentor, David Nicholson. The Grade III chase is a hot handicap that flushes out a set of staying chasers, the latest if which is seven year old graduate from a Tallow Point-to-Point Notachance, owned by David Sewell and Tim Leadbetter. 

Always in touch, Tom Cannon took it up 2 out and stayed on strongly to beat Achille, beautifully ridden by Charlie Deutsch, who hunted round the first circuit and put his horse in the race without him noticing. There'll be another day soon for him. 

His owners have been in racing a long time. Tim Leadbetter was very instrumental in bringing JCB to Cheltenham to support the Triumph Hurdle whilst both have had horses for over 30 years. Owners like this are like gold dust.  

Notachance gives Tom Cannon his biggest winner to date

Although on the face of it, this appears a weak Saturday in the calendar, the card at Warwick is a personal favourite of mine. As a one-time Clerk and manager at Warwick, I brought TV coverage back to the fixture, which coincided with running the then Victor Chandler Chase re-routed from Ascot on the same card. It was Warwick's largest crowd of the decade, witnessing a fascinating duel between Dunwoody and Maguire, head to head in the Jockeys' Championship at the time. 

Success in the Classic is not new to the Alan King stable. He gave his then landlord Nigel Bunter, Chair of the Barbury International Point-to-Point committee, a winner with D'Argent in 2008 and won it 3 years later. However, it's a race whose conditions seem to change every dozen years or so. Older racegoers will remember this as the Brooke Bond Oxo National over 4m. The race was reduced in distance to 3m5f in the late eighties to inject some speedier horses. Then, with the name change and graded status came a shortening to 3m, but the reality is that valuable handicaps at 3m represent a crowded market. Extending the distance makes sense. 

A race that deserves to be on the telly is the Edward Courage Cup, over Warwick's optimum distance of 2m 5f. Faced with five quick fences in the back straight, you need to meet them right. So it was good to see another who remembers Warwick fondly win today's renewal with Sky Pirate. This, after all, is the venue where Jonjo O'Neill beat the previous record for winners in a season, at 149. How pedestrian that looks now compared to the exploits of Scudamore and McCoy! It was, however, another era, when the spoils were more equally shared, and no small achievement. 

Notchance will head for the Scottish National, but another of Alan's nearly horses got a little closer to a big win when Edwardstone won a handicap hurdle at the day's other meeting at Market Rasen. An 8l fifth in the Greatwood in November, Edwardstone has been mixing it in the best of company, so a nearly horse description may appear a little harsh. There's certainly a big handicap in him, and the Betfair Hurdle may be on the agenda.   

Another Barbury stalwart put in a great effort at Market Rasen, when Lil Rockerfeller went down by a neck  to Nicky Henderson's On the Blind Side in a Conditions Hurdle. Winner of 11 of his 47 races for Neil King's stable over the hill from Barbury at Burderop, this gallant soldier just doesn't know how to run a bad race. Oh for a stable full of horses like him. 

Next Event

When?

Sunday December 12th Barbury International First Race 11.30am

Sunday February 13th Vine & Craven First race 11.30am

Sunday April 10th Tedworth First Race 1.15pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where?

Barbury, 3m N of Marlborough, off A346, Jn 15 M4

 

Latest News

King asserts in the Classic to maintain reputation in big handicaps

16-January-2021
16-January-2021 20:02
in General
by Peter McNeile

The Barbury Castle winner machine that is Alan King has been enjoying plenty of success in bread and butter races, but to maintain a position at racing's top table, it's the big races that enable you both to catch the eye and rack up some valuable prize money on which your ranking is decided. 

Such is Alan's reputation that we've grown to expect winners in the big Pattern and handicaps that punctuate the National Hunt season, and today, he added Warwick's Classic Chase to that collection at a course that was always a favourite for former boss and mentor, David Nicholson. The Grade III chase is a hot handicap that flushes out a set of staying chasers, the latest if which is seven year old graduate from a Tallow Point-to-Point Notachance, owned by David Sewell and Tim Leadbetter. 

Always in touch, Tom Cannon took it up 2 out and stayed on strongly to beat Achille, beautifully ridden by Charlie Deutsch, who hunted round the first circuit and put his horse in the race without him noticing. There'll be another day soon for him. 

His owners have been in racing a long time. Tim Leadbetter was very instrumental in bringing JCB to Cheltenham to support the Triumph Hurdle whilst both have had horses for over 30 years. Owners like this are like gold dust.  

Notachance gives Tom Cannon his biggest winner to date

Although on the face of it, this appears a weak Saturday in the calendar, the card at Warwick is a personal favourite of mine. As a one-time Clerk and manager at Warwick, I brought TV coverage back to the fixture, which coincided with running the then Victor Chandler Chase re-routed from Ascot on the same card. It was Warwick's largest crowd of the decade, witnessing a fascinating duel between Dunwoody and Maguire, head to head in the Jockeys' Championship at the time. 

Success in the Classic is not new to the Alan King stable. He gave his then landlord Nigel Bunter, Chair of the Barbury International Point-to-Point committee, a winner with D'Argent in 2008 and won it 3 years later. However, it's a race whose conditions seem to change every dozen years or so. Older racegoers will remember this as the Brooke Bond Oxo National over 4m. The race was reduced in distance to 3m5f in the late eighties to inject some speedier horses. Then, with the name change and graded status came a shortening to 3m, but the reality is that valuable handicaps at 3m represent a crowded market. Extending the distance makes sense. 

A race that deserves to be on the telly is the Edward Courage Cup, over Warwick's optimum distance of 2m 5f. Faced with five quick fences in the back straight, you need to meet them right. So it was good to see another who remembers Warwick fondly win today's renewal with Sky Pirate. This, after all, is the venue where Jonjo O'Neill beat the previous record for winners in a season, at 149. How pedestrian that looks now compared to the exploits of Scudamore and McCoy! It was, however, another era, when the spoils were more equally shared, and no small achievement. 

Notchance will head for the Scottish National, but another of Alan's nearly horses got a little closer to a big win when Edwardstone won a handicap hurdle at the day's other meeting at Market Rasen. An 8l fifth in the Greatwood in November, Edwardstone has been mixing it in the best of company, so a nearly horse description may appear a little harsh. There's certainly a big handicap in him, and the Betfair Hurdle may be on the agenda.   

Another Barbury stalwart put in a great effort at Market Rasen, when Lil Rockerfeller went down by a neck  to Nicky Henderson's On the Blind Side in a Conditions Hurdle. Winner of 11 of his 47 races for Neil King's stable over the hill from Barbury at Burderop, this gallant soldier just doesn't know how to run a bad race. Oh for a stable full of horses like him. 

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