David Pipe may be lacking an established Grade One performer at present – but Eden Du Houx could help fill that void as the season goes on after claiming Listed glory at Ascot.
After making a successful debut under rules at Plumpton earlier this month, the four-year-old gelding took his form to a new level when making all in the St Andrews Holdings Championship Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
The Pond House handler said of the 8-1 winner: “I was not sure about making it with him, but these bumpers are usually go-slow and I said as he had the experience I thought we might as well go on.
“He always does his work easy at home and I thought he would improve from Plumpton. I thought he would be a bit more impressive at Plumpton, but when he gets to the front he only does enough.
“He is a lovely horse and I expect Caroline (Tisdall) will want to go to the Cheltenham Festival with him.”
There are few better tracks for an owner to celebrate their first winner at than the Berkshire course – and the 4 The Fun Partnership were benficiaries of that experience as the Fergal O’Brien-trained Ask Dillon (12-1) claimed the eventmasters.co.uk Maiden Hurdle.
Partnership member Mark Craze said: “We were at Cheltenham last November and we thought it was about time we had a horse, as we live near Cheltenham.
“We got introduced to Fergal O’Brien and we liked the stable and the vibe. We went to the February sales and purchased this one.
“To have a winner was the dream. We are ecstatic and it is the best Christmas present ever.”
Darling Maltaix could be back in action as soon as Boxing Day after appearing to appreciate the step up to an extended two-miles-five-furlongs with a stylish success under Lorcan Williams in the Thames Materials Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Winning trainer Paul Nicholls said of the 9-1 scorer: “We’ve got there at last, as he has been a bit frustrating.
“I said to Lorcan ‘drop him out stone last, then when you get to Swinley Bottom start picking them up, but don’t get there until the line’. He gave him a great ride.
“He is in at Kempton on Boxing Day and that might just be worth considering. The Lanzarote (Hurdle, Kempton) might be worth looking at as well.”
The Alan King-trained Azzerti ended a recent lean spell when getting up by half a length in the Bet With Ascot Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Joint-owner Max McNeill said of the 11-4 winner: “I thought it was a great ride by Wayne Hutchinson. He just picked up nicely and jumped beautifully.”