Dreams of Somersby providing an emotional victory in the Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday were shattered when the gelding failed to get any further than the fifth fence.
The ten-year-old unshipped Dominic Elsworth in the Grade 1 contest he won in 2012 to dash any hopes of retaking the prize just a day after the funeral of his former trainer Henrietta Knight’s husband, Terry Biddlecombe, at Ardington.
Sire De Grugy, the 5-4 favourite, made no such mistakes as he bounded clear to capture the prize by 11 lengths from Hidden Cyclone for the trainer and jockey father-and-son combination of Gary and Jamie Moore.
Mick Channon, who now trains Somersby at West Ilsley, said: “It just wasn’t to be, was it?
“It was a real shame because he is in super form. As Hen said as we were driving home, though, at this level Somersby needs to be faultless and he is prone to throwing in the odd error.
“He seems fine enough, but will have an easy time this week and let him settle down before we make a decision as to our next move. That said, Sire De Grugy looks to be a real emerging force and fair play to connections.”
Channon and Knight, who is based at West Lockinge, near Wantage, still had hopes of Knock House providing a poignant success in the closing novices’ hurdle, but the five-year-old was beaten four lengths into second by Champagne West.
Channon added: “Knock House ran his heart out to finish second in the last and he’s one to look forward to, so we have to pick ourselves up and kick on. There’s still plenty of good days to come.”
MARK Rimell, who trains at Leafield, near Witney, ended a spell of 18 months without a winner when Twoways sprang a 16-1 surprise at Towcester yesterday.
The eight-year-old, whom Rimell also owns, opened his account at the 11th attempt when he stormed through late on under Conor O’Farrell to beat It’s A Doddle by three-quarters of a length in the two-mile handicap hurdle.