Pacha Du Polder wins at Newbury

On A weekend generally low-key in terms of Cheltenham clues, Paul Nicholls did at least serve notice his team could hardly be in better shape as the Festival looms.

Leading the Nicholls team at Newbury on Saturday was Pacha Du Polder, who extended the champion trainer’s dominance in the StanJames Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup.

Pacha Du Polder was making it six Nicholls victories in the Grade Three handicap since Cornish Sett dead-heated back in 2006, and this was also the biggest moment in 25-year-old rider Ryan Mahon’s career.

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Not a model of consistency, Pacha Du Polder was revitalised by the application of cheekpieces and his lead was barely challenged as he came home five lengths clear of Big Fella Thanks.

“That’s my first Graded winner,” said Mahon. “He has his good days and his bad days, but he had every chance on a good day and the first-time cheekpieces really helped him.”

Nicholls, who had doubles at both Newbury and Doncaster, had gone to Town Moor along with stable jockey Ruby Walsh.

Asked from there if the result was as much of a surprise as his 18-1 odds, he said: “It was and it wasn’t. We’ve always known he wanted better ground as he showed how good he could be on it when winning at Ayr last year. He ran a shocker when I fancied him in the Old Roan at Aintree and he obviously has his going days. He won’t be going to Cheltenham, but he might go to Ayr or Aintree.”

Another style of headgear, blinkers, helped stablemate Michel Le Bon (5-1) reverse a landslide of form in the Barbury International Supporting Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase.

Nicholls’ presence on Town Moor was a signal that he expected a good day and he went home with wins courtesy of Toubab and Aaim To Prosper.

Aaim To Prosper (13-8) is still in the World Hurdle and Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham with the latter looking more likely, if he goes to Cheltenham at all, while Toubab (evens) was winning his first race in over a year.

However, there was a reverse for Nicholls on the day as Grand National hope Join Together was pulled up in the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase won by the Henry Daly-trained Quentin Collonges.

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Daly’s 15-2 chance was given a positive ride by Andrew Tinkler and the grey had made every yard of the running before being joined by Mr Moss, eventually seeing him off on the run-in

“The tongue strap helped today and I’d imagine he’ll have another entry in the Scottish National. He was well fancied in it last year,” said Daly.

On a good card at Kelso, Always Right bounced back to winning ways in the totepool Mobile Text Tote To 89660 Premier Chase, with the 20-1 chance touching off the front-running Garleton by a head in the hands of Wilson Renwick.

Things had not gone smoothly for Always Right since he won at the track 15 months earlier, but John Wade’s 11-year-old showed he was not finished with a gutsy display.

Ballabriggs, running in this race for the third successive year ahead of another crack at the John Smith’s Grand National which he won in 2011, pleased Donald McCain with his third-placed finished. But 4-5 favourite Harry Topper gave Timmy Murphy no chance when blundering at the ninth fence, while market rival Bold Sir Brian was a disappointment and was pulled up at the fourth-last.


Ffos Las

2:15 Whisky Yankee

2:50 Barton Gift

3:25 Groomed

4:00 Lava Lamp

4:35 Trojan Sun

5:10 Billybo

5:40 Nodividendsagain


2:40 Guru Baby

3:15 Mad About Harry

3:50 Spanish Plume (nap)

4:25 Line Of Reason

5:00 Hamoody

5:30 Burnhope

6:00 Buckland

6:30 Time Square


2:00 Conquisto

2:30 Noble Legend

3:05 Wilton Milan

4:25 Line Of Reason

5:00 Hamoody

5:30 Burnhope

6:00 Buckland

6:30 Time Square


Line Of Reason

4:25 Kempton

Lava Lamp

4:00 Ffos Las