Suny Bay enjoys spectacular victory
Suny Bay charged to a spectacular success at Haydock Park yesterday to prompt bookmakers to hastily revise betting for several of this season's jumping showpieces.
His 11-length victory in the Edward Hanmer Memorial Handicap Chase left the odds compilers with plenty of food for thought.
Ladbrokes immediately slashed Suny Bay to 9 to 2 favourite for the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday week.
Looking further ahead, Suny Bay is now quoted at prices ranging from 14 to 1 to 20 to 1 for the Gold Cup. Ladbrokes make his 10 to 1 favourite for the Grand National with Coral and Tote two points longer.
The rain-softened ground at Haydock was ideal for Suny Bay, who set out to make all the running and jumped immaculately for Graham Bradley, stepping in for the ride when Jamie Osborne was injured.
Suny Bay was still travelling strongly in the home straight and pulled away after the last to defeat General Wolfe. See More Business was a further seven lengths away in third.
Eudipe, the favourite, was never able to strike a serious blow while Unguided Missile, winner of the race 12 months ago, faded into sixth after holding a prominent position.
Suny Bay, trained by Charlie Brooks, picks up a 4lb penalty for the Hennessy taking his weight to 11st 8lb for the valuable handicap.
But his jockey, who won the Hennessy aboard Bregawn in 1982, is convinced the eight-year-old has what it takes.
"He's the best I've ridden for a long time. I would rate him as good as Bregawn and Wayward Lad," he said.
Owner Andrew Cohen admitted that all the big races will now be considered for Suny Bay. But if the ground was too firm at Newbury, he could be switched to Chepstow's Rehearsal Chase.
The Welsh National will come under consideration as well as the Gold Cup and Grand National.
Back on his happy hunting ground, Saint Ciel hauled his trainer Frank Jordan out of the doldrums.
The admirable nine-year-old entire registered his seventh victory over the course (including two on the Flat) when hammering his rivals in the Liverpool Handicap Hurdle.
He stretched away in impressive style under Adrian Maguire to defeat Miss Roberto by 10 lengths. It was Jordan's first success for 11 weeks.
Maguire went on to complete a double when Pongo Waring obliged in the Wargrave Handicap Chase. The eight-year-old is a revitalised character after overcoming breathing problems and leg trouble.
Meanwhile at Kempton, Kadastrof, a winner on the Flat and over hurdles, enjoyed an impressive first victory over fences. After a good debut second at Towcester, last season's Scottish Champion Hurdle sixth showed his mastery for his new career with a clear-cut success.
Making all the running, the 10 to 11 favourite never put a foot wrong as he coasted to a 28-length win from Kingsfold Pet in the Staines Novices' Chase. "If the ground comes up soft I wouldn't rule him out of next year's Arkle Trophy, but I want to place him as cleverly as I can to the Spring. I think on soft ground he could be top class," said trainer Robin Dickin.
Kadastrof initiated a double for Norman Williamson (completed by Destiny Calls) who was banned for 14 days when dropping his hands and losing a race at Leicester on Monday.