Where are they now? – The winners and losers from Trials Day last year
We reflect on Trials Day 2019 and take a look at home the winners and losers of that meeting have fared since running at Cheltenham.
Trials Day is massive day on the calendar for any National Hunt racing fan. A capacity crowd will take in prestigious races like the Cotswold Chase, the Cleeve Hurdle and the Finesse Juvenile Hurdle, while also collecting plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues during the course of the afternoon.
With just days to go until this year’s Trials Day, we’ve taken a look back on last year’s meeting to see how the big winners and losers have got on since making headlines at Prestbury Park.
Where Are They Now?
A rare Trials Day runner for Joseph O’Brien, Fakir D’Oudairies proved himself to be a cut above his rivals in the Finesse Hurdle, surging clear of his fellow juveniles to record a resounding 13-length success. With stablemate Sir Erec the supposed Irish banker of the week set for the Triumph, Fakir D’Oudairies was switched to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival, running a solid race to place fourth amongst his elders.
Following a couple of runner-up finishes in Grade Ones at Aintree and Punchestown, O’Brien pointed his youngster at fences when the new season commenced. Fakir D’Oudairies has looked a natural over the larger obstacles, winning the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, before narrowly going down to Notebook in another Grade One over Christmas. O’Brien’s star will be a leading player in either the Arkle or the Marsh Novices’ Chase when he returns to Cheltenham in March.
Ben Pauling and his team celebrated with gusto on Trials Day 12 months ago, as Kildisart produced a classy performance to see off Highway One O One and Spiritofthegames in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap. A strong fourth followed behind Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation in the JLT at the Festival, before Kildisart marked himself as a chaser to follow by bolting up in the Grade Three Betway Handicap at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
Pauling’s charge has found wins much harder to come by during his second season over fences. Outclassed by Lostintranslation in an Intermediate Chase on his reappearance, Kildisart has lugged top-weight around Ascot twice since, finishing well down the field on bottomless ground. He remains a classy chaser on his day though, and is certainly one to watch when the good spring ground rolls around.
Siruh Du Lac
Nick Williams’ gelding made it five wins from seven starts over fences when he made his Cheltenham debut on Trials Day, holding on from the front to beat Janika in the Grade Three Trophy Handicap Chase. Siruh Du Lac then pipped Janika to the post again at the Cheltenham Festival, jumping beautifully on his way to securing a narrow victory in the Brown Advisory Plate.
Siruh Du Lac has only been out once so far this term, pulling up after a limp showing in the BetVictor Gold Cup. Rated 150, a return to the Brown Advisory Plate is not out of the question for this talented chaser, and he remains open to improvement over the coming months and years.
On his first start over three miles, Frodon raised the roof at Prestbury Park, holding off the rallying Elegant Escape to score a thrilling victory in the Cotswold Chase. Frodon and Bryony Frost then made headlines around the sporting world at the Festival, plugging on down the home straight to score a famous triumph in the Ryanair Chase on a memorable St Patrick’s Day at Prestbury Park.
It seemed those exertions had taken their toll on Paul Nicholls’ chaser in the early weeks of the new season, as Frodon produced under-par performances in the Old Roan and the Betfair Trophy. Bryony Frost’s favourite mount then proved his doubters wrong with a fine triumph in the Silviniaco Conti Chase, and will now bid to retain his Ryanair crown when he returns to the scene of his greatest triumph.
Last year’s Cleeve Hurdle saw Paisley Park established himself as the top-dog in the staying hurdles division. Emma Lavelle’s budding star was backed into 10/3 favouritism before the off, and went on to deliver a devastating performance, trouncing his rivals by 12 lengths. It looked for a little while like Paisley Park wasn’t going to fulfil his promise in the Stayers’ Hurdle, but once Aidan Coleman’s mount hit his stride, Paisley Park wasn’t to be denied, holding Sam Spinner at arm’s length to land the third Grade One of his budding career.
Treacherous ground conditions have restricted Paisley Park to just one appearance so far this season. That coming in the JLT Long Walk at Ascot, where Lavelle’s eight-year-old stayed on gamely to beat a resurgent Thistlecrack. Paisley Park will now carry short odds (4/6 Unibet) into his second Cleeve Hurdle, before attempting the Cheltenham, Punchestown double in the spring.
Nicky Henderson’s youngster was the shortest-priced of all the favourites on Trials Day last year, carrying odds of 5/4 into the Finesse. Despite overwhelming market support, Adjali had no answer as Fakir D’Oudairies set sail for home, labouring over the line a well-beaten third.
Henderson’s youngster could only finish seventh in the Triumph Hurdle, before losing out to Pentland Hills again in the 4-Y-O Hurdle at Aintree. Adjali was backed into favouritism again as he made his return in the Sodexo Handicap Hurdle at Kempton, but was beaten eight-lengths back in sixth and looks set for a step up in trip on his next outing.
Having flopped on his reappearance at Carlisle, plenty of eyes were on Terrefort as he took on Frodon and Elegant Escape in the Cotswold Chase. Nicky Henderson’s dual-Grade One-winning novice travelled nicely throughout the race and looked set to mount a challenge, only to find little on the run to the line and eventually cross the line a three-length third.
Another encouraging outing followed at Kempton, where Terrefort was outclassed by Clan Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase. Any hopes of a revival were quashed in the Ryanair, however, where Terrefort was pulled up well before the end and Henderson’s former star hasn’t been sighted since.
The Prestbury Park patrons were on their feet as market rivals, Brewin’upastorm and Birchdale approached the final flight in last year’s Classic Novices’ Hurdle, with everyone anticipating a thrilling fight to the line. Sadly, fate intervened, as Brewin’upastorm came crashing to the ground, allowing Birchdale to canter home virtually unchallenged.
While the winner has failed to build on that victory, Olly Murphy’s charge dusted himself down and ran a cracker in the Ballymore at Cheltenham, staying on gamely to finish fourth. Brewin’upastorm is unbeaten in two starts over fences this season too, and could have a big say in the Marsh Novices’ Chase if he makes it to the Festival in one piece.