Cyrname lowered the colours of Altior in the 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
Cyrname looks the real deal, but lets see him do it away from Ascot
It was the heavyweight clash of the year that we’ve all wanted to see since Cyrname pummelled a classy field in the Ascot Chase and become the highest-rated British horse in training back in February... The young pretender, taking on the undisputed king of National Hunt in Altior, who hadn’t tasted defeat since April 2015.
Many predicted that Altior – an eventual 3/1-on favourite for the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase – would extend his streak to 20 wins over obstacles and laugh in the face of the handicapper, who rated him as 1 lb inferior to his rival coming into the race, but Cyrname put In a slick round of jumping to make all and dispose of the heavy favourite with relative ease.
Some people were yet to join the Cyrname bandwagon and potentially still are, but it was impossible to not be impressed by his performance. However, he has to do it away from Ascot and importantly, going left-handed. His record going right-handed reads 6-11; going anti-clockwise, however? It reads 0-3, a worrying statistic with the spring festivals in mind.
Lostintranslation looks a worthy Gold Cup favourite
It was only a four-runner affair, but I think that even if the ten best stayers in the country turned up for the Betfair Chase, the result would be unchanged.
Lostintranslation travelled through the race as smooth as silk, and edged into the lead after the final fence at his own pleasure. His jumping didn’t disappoint, his engine was finely tuned, and his finishing qualities were unquestionably good, he may well be the real deal.
He’s now a general 4/1 chance for the Cheltenham Gold Cup - overtaking the chained up Kemboy – while he's an 8/1 chance to scoop the £1 million Jumps Triple Crown, which would require him to first win the King George at Kempton before following up in the Festival showpiece, and if he was successful he'd be the first to complete the feat since the great Kauto Star.
It’ll be an intriguing year ahead following the seven-year-old and I think there’s a great possibility it’ll be an incredibly fruitful one for connections.
Laurina now a clear Arkle favourite, is she the star the division needs?
Having commented on the lack of stars in the two-mile-novice chasing division in this column last week, it was good to see Laurina stake her claim as the leading light of the division with an eight-length victory from last season's Albert Bartlett victor, Minella Indo. Willie Mullins said after he race that she showed plenty of speed over the two and a half mile trip, and a drop back to two miles would be of no concern, opening the door to an Arkle Trophy challenge.
It was a clean round of jumping, she had all the gears and rightfully tops the betting as a general 4/1 chance, and, as no one else is yet to stick their hand up as one to topple her, she’d be a great one to side with come March.
Thebannerkingrebel is primed for some nice prize money this year
The opener at Haydock, a listed novices' hurdle over two miles, saw an impressive display from the potentially smart Thebannerkingrebel, who, if he had deployed his landing gear at the final obstacle at Wetherby, would now have an unbeaten streak of four over timber since he was seen finishing second in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree's Grand National meeting back in April.
He’s really starting to gather a head of steam now, and if you ignore that Wetherby run, he's beaten what's been put in-front of him pretty readily so far. As such he could be ready for some loftier targets this term - perhaps even culminating in a tilt at the Supreme Novices' Hurdle...
Either way, he proved on Saturday that he has bundles of ability, and could be a real figure-head for the bang in-form Jamie Snowden, who has had more winners this season than any other prior - and we’re only just at the end of November.
Justice was served at Ascot
Regardless of your thoughts on the Diego Du Charmil/Capeland incident that we saw at Ascot at the start of the month, it was pleasing to see the latter gain revenge over his stablemate on Saturday, and cross the line in first.
His owners must have felt hard done by at the beginning of the month, when the race looked at Capeland's mercy approaching the final flight, before a freak incident saw him disqualified through no fault of his own for only jumping the wing of the final fence - and thus 'fail to complete' the course - after being heavily impeded by Diego Du Charmil. This time around, however, with the two leaving the field behind once again as they approached the last, there was no drama, and Capeland asserted on landing to come home a 12-length-winner. Like magnets they were drawn to each other, and they have now created quite a spectacle in their last two races for two very different reasons; so hopefully we see them clash once again this term.