Coleman eventually delivers the goods on Desert Sensation
Even trainer Richard Newland expressed some surprise that Desert Sensation proved good enough to land the 2m7f handicap hurdle as the four-year-old appeared in trouble for most of the race.
At halfway, Aidan Coleman was pushing and shoving his mount along with little response but the situation changed dramatically in the home straight as Desert Sensation started to respond before coming with a strong run after the final hurdle to beat What A Diva close home.
The result left some in-running players with burnt fingers as the winner, who was returned at 7-2, hit the maximum high of 1000 on Betfair while the runner up dipped as low as 1.31 and the third home, Precious Ground, traded at 1.04.
Newland said: “I'm not shocked he's won but I must admit I'm surprised at the way he's done it as he definitely looked in trouble down the far side.
“I’m not sure he enjoyed having so many horses around him in the early part of the race. I don’t think he's quirky or anything like that –it’s just he's a four year old who is still learning and when he saw some daylight he simply took off.”
Evan Williams has been slower than usual off the blocks this autumn following the dry weather but his team are beginning to hit peak form and he recorded a double when Evening Hush took the 2m1f juvenile hurdle and On The Road landed the 2m5½f handicap hurdle.
Williams said of Evening Hush: “She's a nice filly who had been doing all the right things at home and it is no surprise she's won very nicely – I thought she would.
“We've had Grade 1 hurdle winners in the past and, although she has a long way to go, I wouldn't rule her out of being that class in the long term. However, she has to have cut in the ground and the rain that has fallen proved ideal.”
American was making only his fourth appearance under rules in the 3m novice chase but duly delivered when proving too tough for Label Des Obeaux on his first try over fences.
Fry said: “He's very fragile and even after two inches of rain it was probably only just soft enough for him. We've been waiting for the ground to change but we'll have to see how he is in the morning with regards to any future plans.”
Thought for the day
Only a few weeks ago officials at the course were performing raindances as the ground was very firm but, judging by the flooded fields on either side of the M5 approaching the course, their wishes were more than answered.