Ruby at his brilliant best on Wonderful Charm
Report: Chepstow, Saturday
totepool Persian War Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f, 4yo+
RUBY WALSH showed British jumps fans what they have missed over the summer, giving the perfect example of why he is simply the best jumps jockey around with a beautifully patient ride to land odds off 8-11 on the Paul Nicholls-trained Wonderful Charm.
The French import won tidily in the end when for a long way up the straight victory didn't look likely at all. By the finish line he was cruising away from Ballybough Pat. Lienosus was an eyecatcher, running on into third spot.
The jumpers are now getting into top gear and this was the best novice hurdle of the season so far. Wonderful Charm, a recent purchase for Robin Geffen, had some pretty good form in France, finishing second in a Group 2 4yo hurdle over there, and he was strongly fancied to get off to the perfect start for the champion trainer.
Last week's Kempton Listed hurdle winner Hawkhill took them along at a good clip and when he and Ballybough Pat quickened it up as they turned for home Wonderful Charm looked a bit tapped for toe. But Walsh came into his own as he let his rivals fight it out up front and didn't attempt to go for broke until he hit the downhill section between the last two flights.
As soon as Ballybough Pat had got the better of the argument with Hawkhill, Wonderful Charm loomed up and, after winging the final flight, put the race to bed on the run-in pretty quickly with the winning margin six lengths.
The winning rider couldn't have timed it better.
Nicholls said afterwards that patience was always the plan. "Ruby had a sit on him this week and I said you don't want to be in front before the last on him as he was green in his races in France."
For all the brilliance of Walsh, Wonderful Charm certainly impressed with his slick jumping and the way he finished off the race, and he can get 3m.
"He can only improve," said Nicholls. "If he wasn't losing his novice status on November 1, I wouldn't have run him until December - I didn't run Kauto Star or Master Minded after they came over from France until then. They need time so I was nervous today.
"He's a proper horse and for next year when he goes chasing, [so] he will have a light campaign."
Also worth noting was Evan Williams' Lienosus. A £25,000 buy from the points field, he was making his move from the back of the field when making a complete hash of the third-last. He would have been a lot closer otherwise.