In overcoming a determined Dynaste by seven lengths in the Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham, Andy Stewart’s remarkable gelding moved to within one success of the record jumping streak set by Sir Ken in the 1950s.
“He’s reached 15 now so hopefully he will make it 16 at the Festival,” said the owner.
Midnight Chase (9-2) has become a loyal servant to Neil Mulholland through thick and thin and the good times returned in the Argento Chase.
A winner at the course’s first three meetings last winter before finishing fifth in the Gold Cup, Midnight Chase’s season had mirrored that of his trainer’s before this Grade Two success in failing to really build on the promise of before.
He returned to life in the Cotswolds as his neat jumping and relentless galloping put the rest under pressure and he stormed up the hill two and three-quarter lengths clear of Tidal Bay.
Mulholland said: “He loves racing and he loves Cheltenham so he has to go for the Gold Cup after that.”
Diamond Harry and Time For Rupert faded tamely as Knockara Beau ran on for third.
Captain Chris could try to get his career back on track in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Ascot next month after pulling up in the Argento Chase.
Jumping to the right from the outset, Richard Johnson drew stumps before the eighth fence.
Trainer Philip Hobbs has not lost faith in the eight-year-old, and is now steering Captain Chris towards Ascot on February 18.
“He’s absolutely fine, no problem at all. We obviously need to go back to the drawing board after he jumped right-handed, which he has always done,” said Hobbs.
“His next obvious race, provided everything goes all right, is Ascot because it’s right-handed – the two-mile-five chase they have there on February 18.”
Hobbs also reports Menorah none the worse for his tumble at Doncaster on Saturday.
The Minehead handler is looking to get another race into him before the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March.
“He’s perfectly all right, as well. Obviously we need to get some schooling into him,” Hobbs added. “Hopefully we can find a race for him before we go to Cheltenham.”
A reversal of fortune in the stewards’ room triggered a fabulous treble for trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson.
The revised outcome came from a heated battle for the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial when Pearl Swan (8-1) was disqualified after being found to have leaned on King’s Grumeti (7-4 joint-favourite) and the places were switched.
The pair will meet again in the Triumph Hurdle, although Grumeti may be given one more run in the Adonis at Kempton.
Calgary Bay sealed his place in the John Smith’s Grand National by defying 11st 11lb in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
Trainer Henrietta Knight said: “With that big weight, Dominic (Elsworth) had to patient with him. He likes it here and won his first chase on this track.
“The Grand National is the aim and I think he’ll go straight to Aintree now. I looked at all the past winners and nothing had won with that weight.”