• Horse Racing

Quentin Collonges gets back on track at Doncaster

ESPN staff
March 2, 2013
Quentin Collonges bounced back from a disappointing last appearance © PA Photos

Quentin Collonges led throughout in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, to bounce back from a disappointing last appearance.

The grey, coached by Henry Daly, had struggled on the soft ground of Warwick at the start of the year, but rallied back after that disappointment to lead from the front on Saturday and claim the win by a narrow margin from the persistent Mr Moss.

Quentin Collonges was helped significantly by the fall of one of the pre-race favourites, Night in Milan, in an incident which nearly took down Ruby Walsh's well-fancied Join Together in the process.

Join Together never recovered from that scare and was unable to get back into contention, enabling Beneficial Reform to come through and complete the places some way shy of the leading two.

"I've been trying to win this race for a while," said Daly. "He's tiny but tough and is a pleasure to train and is as hard as nails. The tongue strap helped today and I'd imagine he'll have another entry in the Scottish National."

Elsewhere at the meeting, Tom Symonds grabbed the biggest success of his fledgling training career as Tweedledum defeated the two other runners submitted into the Mares' Novices' Hurdle, while Night Force emerged victorious in another three-horse field for the Novices' Chase to garner a win for Brendan Powell.

At Newbury, meanwhile, Buck Magic was on form to claim the Handicap Hurdle for trainer Neil Mulholland - on a day where the legendary Kauto Star returned to the racecourse to demonstrate his new dressage skills.

Michael Byrne initially saw his charge fall off the pace in the early stages, but edged the 8/1 shot into position before overwhelming favourite Water Garden down the closing stretch. Buck Magic eventually won by just over three lengths.

In the Veterans' Handicap Chase, Michael Le Bon took the win - having pulled up in his last two appearances. Trainer Paul Nicholls had the 5/1 shot wear blinkers for his latest race, with the additional headwear being credited for a turnaround that saw the horse reel in Tartak and Hey Big Spender before leaving them in the dust over the final run-in.

"He has been dire the last twice but the blinkers have transformed him," said Nicholls. "I nearly ran him over hurdles but we thought we may as well go for this. I haven't seen a horse work as well in first-time blinkers since we put them on See More Business before the Gold Cup."

It was not Nicholls' only success of the day, as Pacha Du Polder clinched the Handicap Chase - Nicholls' fifth win in the race in six years.

Nicholls' other runner, The Knoxs, had been the more heavily-favoured of the two going into the race but, after falls for the likes of Mahogany Blaze and Pepite Rose, jockey Ryan Mahon took Pacha Du Polder away from the field at just the right moment. Big Fella Thanks and Tony Star rounded out the places.

Meanwhile, in the Premier Chase at Kelso, Always Right took the spoils. Garleton came in second, with 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs third.

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