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Fusil Raffles prevails in eventful Charlie Hall at Wetherby and Indefatigable delivers

All the attention ahead of the Grade Two contest was on defending champion Cyrname.

Fusil Raffles ridden by Daryl Jacob.
Fusil Raffles ridden by Daryl Jacob.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

FUSIL RAFFLES CLAIMED victory in a dramatic renewal of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

All the attention ahead of the Grade Two contest was on defending champion Cyrname, who was a fine winner last year before his season tailed off and he underwent wind surgery over the summer.

Sent off an 85-40 chance, Cyrname took up his usual prominent position through the early stages and was still in front until Harry Skelton decided to kick on aboard 2-1 favourite Shan Blue at the turn for home.

The second-season chaser quickly built up a healthy lead only to get the third-last all wrong and crash out.

That gave the rest of the field a second bite of the cherry and it was Fusil Raffles and Daryl Jacob who seized the advantage, jumping the penultimate fence in the lead.

He then cleared the last in fine style to secure a four-and-a-half-length success over Kitty’s Light with Clondaw Castle back in third.

Cyrname was pulled up before the last and Nicholls reported his charge to have suffered breathing issues again.

He said: “He choked again and once he choked, that was it. One minute he was going and the next he wasn’t.”

Dan Skelton was philosophical after Shan Blue fell with the race seemingly at his mercy.

“The horse is all right, Harry’s all right. Good jumpers, when they have a fall, they have a bad fall. It wasn’t very nice but he’s OK, he’d have hacked up,” he said.

“The fence is in the wrong spot, what can you do? It’s happened to Ruby Walsh. These things happen. I was delighted with him, we know he’s a very, very good horse.

“He’s in the Hennessy and he’ll have an entry in the King George. We’ve just got to see, but it was terribly frustrating.

“Everyone’s all right, it’s just racing. One minute you’re winning a two-mile race with Molly Ollys Wishes, the next minute that happens.

“You can’t dwell on it, the horse is OK, we know he’s a good horse. We’re missing a trophy today, but at least we’re not missing a horse.”

Paul Webber’s Indefatigable became the third mare in five years to win the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby.

Registered as the West Yorkshire Hurdle, the race gives the top-class staying hurdlers an early chance to get back in action and this time it was former champion Paisley Park who attracted most of the pre-race attention.

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While Emma Lavelle’s nine-year-old hit his customary flat spot going down the back straight, he did stay on over the last quarter of a mile to finish a respectable third, but the bird had flown by then.

Daryl Jacob had ridden a patient race on Indefatigable, who herself had won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, and took up the running at the second last.

However, Harry Skelton had stalked her into the straight on Proschema, who briefly looked to be travelling better.

Webber had sent Indefatigable to Pontefract for a race on the Flat, which she won, earlier this month, though and that fitness told as she came away to win two and three-quarter lengths with two and a half lengths back to Paisley Park.

Roksana 12 months ago and the Fergal O’Brien-trained Colin’s Sister in 2017 are the other mares to recently take the prize.

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