Black Corton continues on his upward curve at Cheltenham

Fri 27 Oct 2017

Bryony Frost continued her tremendous record aboard Black Corton with victory in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase.

Frost steered the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old to his recent victories at Worcester, Fontwell and Newton Abbot, and he was a 5-2 shot to complete the four-timer.

Black Corton made much of the running and jumped nimbly and accurately for the duration of the extended three-mile contest.

He was being strongly pressed by Sizing Tennessee in the hands of Bryan Cooper at the second fence from the finish, but he crashed out to leave Frost's mount clear and he galloped all the way to the line to score by 10 lengths.

Fagan, the 13-8 favourite, was a clear second. Ballymalin was last of three finishers, with Beat That falling on the second circuit.

Nicholls said: "When he won at Newton Abbot the other day he was well-in with 10st 8lb on his back. Today he was carrying 11st 8lb and was 8lb worse off with Sizing Tennessee (second at Newton Abbot).

"Sizing Tennessee was just in front today when he sadly fell, but one thing Black Corton does is gallop all the way to the line. It would have been interesting.

"He just keeps improving and Bryony gives him a great ride. She's got faith in him.

"He's not the biggest horse in the world, but he's tough and he jumps and never knows when he's beat.

"There's a very valuable three-mile novice chase at Exeter in 10 days' time and if it stays decent ground, he'll head there.

"Once the really good horses come out and there's cut in the ground, he'll be having a holiday until the spring."

Frost told Racing UK: "We've struck a chord with him. A horse like that is easy to ride as he gives everything to you, he jumps and when you ask him he's brave. He'll never go down lying down.

"I needed the pace to be strong as we stay and we're fit. You wouldn't know what would have happened (if Sizing Tennessee had not fallen), we still had the last to jump and the hill, but I know for a fact my horse is tough.

"The team I'm riding for and the opportunities I'm getting is the stuff of dreams."

Local trainer Martin Keighley got the new season at Cheltenham off to the perfect start as Brillare Momento rewarded favourite-backers in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

The six-year-old mare won a Listed prize at Prestbury Park in the spring and although she suffered a short-priced defeat on her final outing of the campaign at Newton Abbot in May, she was an even-money shot to make a successful reappearance.

Aidan Coleman's mount disputed the running with Treackle Tart for much of the two-mile-five-furlong journey before striking on after jumping the second flight from the finish.

Treackle Tart dug deep in an effort to claw back the deficit, but Brillare Momento was not for catching on the run-in and passed the post a length and a half to the good.

Keighley said: "I probably shouldn't have run her at Newton Abbot. It was probably one run too many and the track was too sharp.

"She loves it round here and she was probably a bit rusty. She was close to a few and she will come on for that run.

"Aidan Coleman was delighted with her. She has got a massive future and could keep on improving.

"We would be looking at the David Nicholson (OLBG Mares' Hurdle) in March if she is going the right way.

"She needs to keep progressing, but there is a good programme for these mares and we will probably keep her in Listed-class mares' hurdles."

Tim Vaughan was thrilled to saddle his first ever winner at Cheltenham as champion jockey Richard Johnson steered 12-1 shot Master Dancer to a wide-margin success in the Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle.

The grey looked to have his work cut out rounding the final bend, with Kk Lexion having already committed for home, closely pursued by Vivas and the prolific Hallings Comet.

However, the complexion of the race changed on the run to the final flight as, while the front trio began to falter, Master Dancer was only just finding his stride and he bounded up the famous hill to score by an impressive 10 lengths. Vivas beat Kk Lexion to the runner-up spot.

Vaughan said: "Knowing my record at Cheltenham it's a bit of a surprise! Everyone winds me up about it and it's just got the point where I've said to myself 'I can't do any more and I'm trying my best'.

"It's lovely to have a winner here and it's nice that Dickie (Johnson) is on board as we've been together a long time. It's long overdue, but I'm delighted and it's great for the staff at home as well."

Of Master Dancer, the trainer added: "He's been a great buy. We paid 17,000 guineas for him and that's his fifth win for us. He's won on the Flat and he's won over jumps, so it's great."

Johnson said: "It's fantastic for Tim. It's the first winner he's ever had here and he's had a lot of seconds.

"His horses are in great form and it's a special experience to have a winner at Cheltenham.

"We've had lots of success over the last few years and Tim has put every bit of effort into it. I wouldn't think you'd find a more enthusiastic trainer/person in racing and he's getting the rewards."

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