Bennys King rules at Ascot

In-form Skeltons strike again with useful chaser.

  • Saturday 19 December
  • News
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Bennys King stuck to his task well to run out a convincing winner of the “For The Love Of Racing” Handicap Chase at Ascot.

Dan Skelton’s nine-year-old was having his second outing of the season, and Harry Skelton took up the running just after halfway in confident fashion.

The 13-2 shot gave what turned out to be the second last an almighty belt, but it failed to halt his momentum.

With the last fence omitted because of damage caused by a faller on the first circuit, Bennys King was kept up to his work to beat 33-1 chance Gardefort by six lengths.

The winning jockey told ITV Racing: “He was good today – he stays really well, so I was always confident to keep going forward because he handles the conditions well.

“It’s good placing by Dan – he had him in this and the three-mile race, so it worked out well.

“If there was ever a day I was glad we bypassed the last it was today, because he can just miss one or two, and he galloped on well.”

Dashel Drasher was earlier sent off the 11-2 outsider of three runners in the Injured Jockeys Fund Graduation Chase, but dominated throughout.

Nicky Henderson’s Caribean Boy was never in the same rhythm as when winning at Newbury recently, while Itchy Feet was almost detached throughout after an early mistake.

That was until Dashel Drasher began to tread water after the last as Itchy Feet belatedly picked up a head of steam, only to go down by two lengths.

The winner was inserted in the Ryanair Chase betting at 33-1 by Paddy Power.

Jonjo O’Neill is enjoying a decent season, and his Morning Spirit (9-2 favourite) gained a first career success in the Foundation Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

Long-time leader Fawsley Spirit just about looked to have the upper hand when coming down at the last.

Winning jockey Jonjo O’Neill junior said: “He’s a chaser for next year. I didn’t think he’d handle the ground as well as he did – and the rain last night helped, I think, because it was very sticky yesterday.

“I think he wants nicer ground, so we might have been lucky that it was the first race – because it’s only going to get worse.”

Bennys King rules at Ascot
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