Houblon Des Obeaux rolls back the years at Sandown

Williams stalwart picks up bumper veterans’ prize

  • Saturday 05 January
  • News
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Houblon Des Obeaux justified strong market support to run an easy winner of the £100,000 Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final at Sandown.

The 12-year-old was as big as 20-1 in the morning and was backed down to 7-1 at the off.

The gamble was justified as the Venetia Williams-trained gelding stamped his authority on the competitive three-mile contest.

Loose Chips took the field along until the 17 runners went out on their final circuit, where Charlie Deutsch made his move on Houblon Des Obeaux.

Taking a clear lead from the sixth-last fence, Houblon Des Obeaux had the opposition at full stretch with only last year’s winner Buywise looking a threat.

He unfortunately came down at the last, leaving the leader to go and score by 15 lengths from Theatre Guide.

On Tour was four and a half lengths away third with another length back to Rock Gone in fourth.

Buywise thankfully seemed none the worse for his tumble.

Williams said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. We always hoped a race like this might come his way. It was a smashing ride by Charlie. He was a bold man to take the bull by the horns.

“I think with these old horses a few pounds here or there is not that relevant, it is more about what frame of mind they are in and how happy they are. He was in a good frame of mind coming into it.

“Jennifer Blackwell, his late owner right up until she passed away, used to come to the yard and he was the one person who would brighten her life.

“It’s just fantastic. He has been a wonderful horse and we’ve had him since he was a three-year-old. He has been a mainstay of the yard for a long time.”

Colin Tizzard was delighted with the effort of fellow 12-year-old Theatre Guide.

He said of the former Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up: “Walking back in with him three or four times this week, he has been bright as a button. He looked a different horse and he just proved that today. He is back in form.

“We’ve thought about this race since the beginning of the season. Hopefully he will run right through the season.”

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