Trainer Simon Burrough achieved a first career double when Eluvaparty and Deep Quest combined to stun the crowd at Exeter today.
In contrast, champion trainer Paul Nicholls experienced a topsy-turvy day, the low point coming when Ouninpohja downed tools to the extent that he was beaten a distance by Burrough’s outsider Eluvaparty in the WBX.COM 0% Commission On Big Races Beginners’ Chase.
Nicholls had supervised Twist Magic to a comeback triumph at Kempton and been on the mark with Petit Lord in an earlier race at Exeter, but the afternoon turned sour when Ouninpohja resented being taken on and stopped to a walk under Sam Thomas.
Eluvaparty, 66-1, came from fourth approaching two out to draw level with Pseudonym and Zorro De La Vega at the final fence before going on to beat that pair by five lengths and threequarters of a length.
Ouninpohja, sent-off even money favourite, was a distance behind.
Then Deep Quest came from an equally unpromising position to catch Ackhurst and take the London Inn Handicap Chase by four lengths and seal the memorable brace for Burrough and rider Rodi Greene.
Burrough only recently took charge of Eluvaparty, who had been with Simon Earle and Paul Keane.
He said: “That has to be a bit of a surprise as he’d been breaking blood vessels. He’d been working well, but how can you be hopeful against Nicholls?”
Greene never gave up on the winner and said: “I thought I might get third and then second looked up for grabs. Then the next minute we were going to win.”
Daniel Skelton confessed that the Ditcheat team will have to go back to the drawing board with Ouninpohja.
Nicholls’ assistant said: “He plainly didn’t want to go through with it in the home straight after enjoying himself at the fences down the back. We’ve tried blinkers and everything. What do you do now?”
The Nicholls team had more to shout about when Petit Lord rallied for Thomas to beat Self Defense by threequarters of a length in the Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Novices’ Chase after looking in trouble early in the straight.
Skelton praised the 1-2 winner, who will now have a holiday. He said: “He’s undefeated over fences and it’s a good achievement for any horse to complete a hat-trick.
“He’s very tough and honest but his wins have come in quick succession. He puts so much into his races, he now needs a break.”
Greene was in equally never-say-die mood as he switched off Deep Quest early before delivering the 16-1 chance with a well-timed challenge.
Afterwards Burrough admitted he would celebrate in style.
He said: “There will be a big party tonight. It’s a big surprise to get a double. His jumping wasn’t bad at home, but I thought it all depended on whether that held up on the course.
“I walked the course on Sunday afternoon and felt there was plenty of juice in the ground. I knew both my horses would gallop and jump round here.”
The Burrough-Greene combo had hopes of a treble in the Join WBX.COM For Free Football Shirt Mares Only Novices’ Hurdle with Yellow Jersey, but the mare had to give best to David Pipe’s Brousse En Feux, who improved for the fitting of a visor to score by four lengths.
The opening SWRE Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Hurdle proved eventful with the eventual winner Meet The Legend almost depositing Josh Guerriero on the turf after his saddle slipped at the penultimate flight.
Fortunately for Guerriero, he was so far clear at the time that he had time to recover his balance and get his mount going again to hold Captain Beckett by five lengths.
Tony Gale, spokesman for the Gale Force Six partnership, eighteen of whose number were on hand, said of the even-money favourite: “He’s an embryonic chaser in the same mould as Philson Run and Mighty Moose.
“They were a modest bunch but he could do no more than canter over them. There were a few scary moments but he survived them and fences will beckon before long.”
Gale added that Philson Run could be pointed towards the Welsh National, while Mighty Moose is to go for the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree later in the month.
Andy Turnell received a good omen for his Hennessy contender Bible Lord’s warm-up run at Bangor tomorrow when So Brash proved a length and a half too strong for Devito in the Weatherbys Bank Handicap Hurdle.
The 13-2 shot was ridden by Henry Oliver and Turnell commented: “Henry comes and rides out. I’ll endeavour to give him and Mark Grant as many opportunities as I can this season.”