Champagne West and David Mullins win the Thyestes Handicap Chase
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Peter Scargill 3:04PM 26 JAN 2017
Report: Gowran, Thursday
Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase 3m1f, 5yo+
CHAMPAGNE WEST produced an utterly dominant display from the front to turn a competitive handicap chase into a procession.
Jumping boldly in front under jockey David Mullins, bar one mistake down the back straight on the second circuit, Champagne West never looked in trouble as one-by-one his rivals fell away.
It was hard to imagine watching Champagne West jump with such accuracy and poise that his promising career had been held back by jumping frailties.
He was slick and nimble over nearly all of his fences, while his rhythm and dynamism up front had the opposition worried a fair way out.
Jockey Daryl Jacob was able to get his mount close to Champagne West approaching the penultimate fence but he could not get past. Instead, Champagne West kicked in the turbos and charged away.
‘A serious engine’
Winning jockey David Mullins was certainly impressed, and told At The Races: “He’s run away with me for at least 2m6f. He has a serious engine. I’ve no doubt he’ll improve on softer ground, it was gluey out there.”
Bookmakers quickly scrambled out revised prices for Champagne West with Paddy Power cutting him to 14-1 (from 25) for the Ryanair Chase and to 33-1 (from 66) for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. He is 50-1 (from 100) for the Randox Health Grand National with BetVictor.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained winner was chased home by Ucello Conti with Bonny Kate third and Pleasant Company fourth.
De Bromhead said:”David [Mullins] gave him a brilliant ride. He is not easy because of his jumping, but he just sat so quietly on him and we hoped that would be the key to him. Bar the fourth last, I thought he jumped really well.
“We have done a fair bit of work with him but it is there, it is as much confidence with him. You try not to interfere, leave him do it, and in fairness bar the fourth-last, he was brilliant. He guessed at that a little bit but all credit to David, he is not an easy ride and I thought he gave him a fantastic ride.”
Mullins was convinced after the race his mount was a Grade 1 horse, and asked about the Cheltenham Gold Cup, de Bromhead said:”He is entered in races at Cheltenham, including the Gold Cup. That’s a big step, but we’ll enjoy today, speak to Roger [Brookhouse] and go from there.”