Noel Novices’ Chase: Pic D’Orhy breezes to Ascot Christmas victory for champion trainer Paul Nicholls | Racing News

Pic D’Orhy ran easy Grade Two winner Noel Novizis’ Chase at Ascot on Friday to make amends for his crash at Newbury last month.

Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old, who threw away what seemed like a big chance for gradual success when the last one on the track had come out of four barriers, this time did a light job with his four opponents.

Taken in the lead by Jane Williams’ Gladiateur Allen, Pic D’Orhy produced a flawless round of jumps under Harry Cobden, while his rivals made significant mistakes, including a thrilling one from Gladiateur Allen while driver Chester Williams did well at survive unscathed.

A second mistake from Williams’ 13/2 chance nearly put an end to his hopes when Pic D’Orhy was left in front, chased in vain by Dan Skelton’s second favorite, Faivoir, with Up The Straight well behind in a distant third.

Gladiator Allen finished fourth, with Gary Moore’s Fifty Ball – another for making a string of jumping mistakes – last of five.

It’s just a second win on fences for Nicholls’ former Betfair Hurdle winner, following his success at Ffos Las in October.

Nicholls said, “It was a little frustrating. He’s got a hell of a motor. He was very good today. He just flipped over in a few, he’s starting to learn the game a little and tends to get a little bit of one – and when run downhill and he’s a bit free, he can be problematic.

Pic D’Orhy (right) and Gladiateur Allen lead Noel Novizi’s Chase Camp in Ascot

“That was his best jumping round. He was fourth in this race last year and he crashed in the previous race against Chantry House, but who knows what would have happened that day? Then the other day in Newbury, he would have won if not was fallen.

“It’ll be great in the spring for those two and a half miles, two miles and six furlong chases. The Isles of Scilly, the Pendil. He might not go to Cheltenham and then we’ll go to Aintree. That kind of race would suit him.

“He’s a bit cheeky and ignorant. He’s got a great engine and he’s a real horse. Once he gets solid jumping, he’ll win some really nice races. He jumped the last two in an absolutely wonderful way.”

Nicholls and Cobden doubled up in the next race, the last on paper on the opening day of the Ascot Christmas Racing Weekend, as Chepstow winner Henri The Second scored two out of two in the Listed Lexicon Recruitment Championship Open NH Flat Race.

Jonbon stars in Kennel Gate

Jonbon has been downgraded to a 5/2 favorite for the Sky Bet Supreme Novice Obstacle after an authoritative performance at the Grade Two Kennel Gate Novice Obstacle at Ascot.

Under a confident Aidan Coleman, the five-year-old gelding made his run after a low-key start without any of his rivals wanting to force the pace.

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Coach Nicky Henderson described Jonbon as an “extraordinary pro” after landing the Kennel Gate novice hurdle at Ascot on Friday.

In JP McManus’ famous colors, Coleman drove all the way and accelerated the pace out of the corner with seemingly minimal effort, walking away to win just under three lengths behind Colonel Mustard and Conor Orr.

Previously on the card, Brave Seasca put its rivals to the sword with a display of flowing jumps to land a dramatic Howden Novizis limited handicap chase for Gavin Sheehan and team fit Venetia Williams.

Party Business and Charlie Todd lowered the colors of awesome runners Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls with Party Business, who won the Howden Maiden Hurdle on 1/22.

In the opening round of the afternoon, Philip Hobbs continued his good run with Earth Lord, who brought his tally to two-for-two for the season when he landed the Howden Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle under Sean Houlihan.

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