REVE De Sivola showed tremendous battling qualities to win the JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot for the third year in succession.
Nick Williams’ 13-2 chance went straight to the front under Daryl Jacob, but the alarm bells must have been ringing when the odds-on favourite, Zarkandar, eased upsides at the third-last.
Sam Twiston-Davies was motionless on Zarkandar as he went into a clear lead at the last, but Reve De Sivola would not be denied. He got back on top on the run-in, as the leader momentarily idled, and then battled hard to repel Zarkandar’s late rally by a head. Williams’ other runner, Aubusson, kept on well for third.
Jacob said: “This horse has been a big part of my career. When I started my job with Nick Williams, he was one of the first horses I rode as a juvenile and for him to keep going the way he has and put in an effort like that was unbelievable. He has a massive heart.”
Jacob also enjoyed good days with Zarkandar in his former role as stable jockey to Paul Nicholls, including winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2011. He added: “I had three fantastic years with Paul and Zarkandar has been a hell of a horse for me as well.”
Speaking from Haydock, Williams said: “Reve De Sivola loves Ascot, but he made a bad mistake early and got away with it. It’s fantastic for Daryl. He would have ridden him three years ago, but he had a whip ban and couldn’t ride. This time, Richard [Johnson] was banned, so Daryl’s stepped in. He’ll go to the Cleeve [Hurdle, at Cheltenham], probably.”
Jacob added: “Zarkandar was running all over us approaching the last, but obviously I’ve ridden Zarkandar plenty of times and know him well. I know Reve De Sivola has a big heart and knew it was never over until he crossed the line. He dug very deep when he needed to and that was his career best today. ”
Later, Bayan also dug deep to take The Ladbroke for trainer Gordon Elliott and rider Davy Condon. Shelford and the long-absent Balgarry set what looked a healthy gallop up front, tracked within range by Activial. The latter came to join issue with two to jump, but made a hash of it as Galway Hurdle runner-up Bayan arrived on the scene at the last. Pine Creek pushed the Irish raider all the way but could never get there, finding the line coming a neck too soon. Activial was third with Shelford fourth.
Elliott was at Leopardstown, where he said of the 14-1 winner: “This has been the plan and he had not run over hurdles since Galway. It was great, I’m delighted – he was very tough.”
The Young Master gained compensation for his dramatic disqualification after ‘winning’ at Wincanton with a fine display in the £100,000 Mappin & Webb Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot.
Neil Mulholland’s five-year-old had last been seen passing the post first in the Badger Ales Trophy, only to have the race taken away from him in the stewards’ room as it emerged he had not met the qualifying criteria for the race.
Despite that he had still been raised 14lb by the handicapper, but he travelled well for much of the three-mile journey under Barry Geraghty, although occasionally jumping out to his left.
Taking three out alongside Via Sundown, he was going noticeably best and was sent clear by Geraghty running to the second last. Stretching his advantage to the final fence, Mulholland’s youngster safely negotiated that to run out a ready two-and-a-half-length scorer from Houblon Des Obeaux.