Acapella Bourgeois: won the Ten Up Novice Chase by 32 lengths
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Justin O’Hanlon 7:20PM 19 FEB 2017
A SPECTACULAR display of jumping and galloping from the front by the Sandra Hughes-trained Acapella Bourgeois in the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase was the talk of Navan on Sunday – but was it too good to be true?
Social media was awash with criticism of the seven jockeys who appeared content to let the Roger Loughran-ridden Acapella Bourgeois build up a huge lead, however stewards decided an inquiry into the running and riding of the seven stragglers was unwarranted.
Acapella Bourgeois won by 32 lengths from Road To Respect, with Haymount, his nearest pursuer for most of the race, a further 11 lengths adrift, and he was cut across the board to between a 10-1 and 16-1 shot for the RSA Chase (from 33).
Explaining their thinking, stewards’ secretary Hugh Hynes said: “We didn’t feel any need to call an inquiry. We felt that the winner jumped and stayed, that the remaining runners could make no headway on him at all, and that a lot of them were at it from a mile out.
“The winner just went further clear and we didn’t feel that any riding offence was committed.”
Some observers took issue with that assessment, but the arbiter of opinion will be Acapella Bourgeois himself, the Cheltenham Festival likely to be the scene of a dispute-settling run.
On the face of it, the winner’s performance was spectacular. Loughran made all, gradually extended his lead until it was clear a mile out that it was almost unassailable, and carried on relentlessly until he was probably further clear at the finish than at any stage of the race.
Hughes said: “You’d have to say after today he’ll be travelling to Cheltenham, but we will see what the ground is like. If it came up very good we might give it a miss, but if it’s nice soft ground we’d have to take our chance.
“He’s improving all the time but the ground is key. He goes on really heavy, testing ground and his jumping was superb. He showed today how good he is.”