'One run then the Marsh' - Nicky Henderson plots festival plan for Fusil Raffles
Nicky Henderson saw his highly regarded hotpot Chantry House finish only third at 8-11 in the 2m4½f novice chase but it was still a winning race for the champion trainer, whose Fusil Raffles stayed on dourly to overhaul Lieutenant Rocco in a slow-motion finish.
Daryl Jacob's mount had been pulled up on Cheltenham's Old course last month, but so, too, on the same day had stable companion Mister Fisher, who on Friday also bounced back to form to land the Peterborough Chase.
Henderson said: "Nico [de Boinville] said Chantry House got stuck in the mud, but it was a good performance by Fusil to give weight away. I have been dying to step him up to two and a half miles but the races kept falling nicely over two miles. I think he won here because he stays and he did it really despite the ground.
"Daryl said he had a hard race, so we'll put him away now and then I would imagine he'll have one run before coming back here for the Marsh."
Good result for Ireland
There were only two Irish-trained runners at Cheltenham on Saturday and both won, for Chatham Street Lad's success in the Caspian Caviar was immediately followed by Make Good taking the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle with daylight to spare.
Unlike Mick Winters, McConnell was not at Cheltenham, but Richard Johnson was and he enjoyed his first win in the Grade 2 staying test.
"The trip was a bit of an unknown," said Johnson. "John was pretty sure he wanted at least two and a half miles, but because of the ground we didn't actually go too quick so it wasn't a slog."
Earlier in the afternoon, the David Pipe-trained Adagio ran out an impressive winner of the Triumph Hurdle Trial, which forced bookmakers to cut him to 16-1 (from 25-1) for the main event in March.
More Saturday reaction:
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