Wetherby Racecourse, West Yorks
THERE were two performances over the weekend which might have been described as “poetry in motion” – Cyrname’s return to imperious form in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday, 31 October, and Envoi Allen’s chasing debut at Down Royal (see box, top right) on Friday, 30 October. Neither horse could be faulted.
Cyrname, the highest-rated chaser in Britain, went to Wetherby for what is always regarded as the first big chase of the season, with a couple of questions to answer. Was he as effective going left-handed, and did he truly get three miles? If you rule out left-handed tracks, you effectively put a line through jump racing’s two biggest festivals – Cheltenham and Aintree – and though Cyrname’s trainer, Paul Nicholls, didn’t think it would be a problem now, the fact remained, he hadn’t run him left-handed since the 2017/18 season when he showed a tendency to jump right at both Newbury and Aintree.
As for the trip, his only start over three miles previously was in last season’s King George when he was beaten 21 lengths into second by his stable companion Clan Des Obeaux, which didn’t really prove anything. Having earned his rating of 176 when he beat Waiting Patiently 17 lengths at Ascot two seasons ago, the match between Cyrname and two-time champion chaser Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot last November was eagerly awaited.
Ultimately, Ascot was a pyrrhic victory for Cyrname and such a hard race did Altior no favours either. Cyrname reappeared in the King George VI Chase but ran very flat and was a tired horse when falling on his return to Ascot. However, he answered questions with aplomb at Wetherby on Saturday, jumping brilliantly to beat the well-regarded Vinndictaion a hardheld two lengths – a margin which flattered the runner-up.
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