Bolger out of luck as Garde Champetre pipped

LACDOUDAL fought off last year’s winner Garde Champetre in a stirring finish to the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham.

Philip Hobbs’ 11-year-old turned in a fantastic display of jumping from the front under Richard Johnson but looked booked for minor honours when Garde Champetre, trained by cross-country king Enda Bolger and ridden by Nina Carberry, loomed up on the turn for home.

The latter jumped up to join Lacdoudal (9-2) at the final obstacle but the grey was in determined mood and found more to score by a neck.

Johnson said: “`He ran really well here at the Festival when he came third. He's just a lovely horse, he always tries and he enjoyed that.

Cue Card offered yet more evidence he is the horse of the Tizzard family’s lifetime with another wide-margin victory.

This year’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper star has now accumulated a 35-length gap between his rivals in four starts to date, adding eight to his total following a telling dismissal of Philip Hobbs’ well-regarded Dunraven Storm in the Cheltenham Collection Sharp Novices’ Hurdle.

Time For Rupert takes similar rank to Cue Card at Paul Webber’s yard and last season’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up made a more than satisfactory debut over fences in the gathering gloom of the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase.

Many holding legitimate aspirations for the RSA Chase were in a fascinating field but Time For Rupert (7-2) shone through over the final couple of obstacles, pulling eight lengths clear of Hell’s Bay, with Othermix and 3-1 favourite Reve de Sivola well held in behind.

“We’ve had good chasers like Flying Instructor over the years, but he’s special,” said Webber.

“He jumped very well today and he really loves running round here.

“He’ll come back as often as he can, the December meeting would be the next obvious one, and the RSA is the yellow brick road.”

Nicky Henderson traditionally hits top gear in November and he sent out several impressive winners.

A summer breathing operation saw Dave’s Dream (100-30 favourite) in a new light in the Handicap Chase, bounding up the run-in for Barry Geraghty.

The unbeaten Aegean Dawn, sent to Henderson by owner Paul Murphy when Robert and Sally Alner retired, was backed into an incredible 6-4 favourite for the 23-runner Arkle Bookshop Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle but absolutely bolted up under David Bass.

Picture: Richard Johnson on Lacdoudal clears the final fence and wins beating Garde Champetre ridden by Miss Nina Carberry during Countryside Day at Cheltenham (PA).

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox