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Malarky keeps up winning run for Tizzard and O’Neill

Earlier, Song For Someone produced a power-packed late thrust to get the better of a thrilling finish to the Betway Kingwell Hurdle.

Mister Malarky and Jonjo O'Neill Jr on the way to winning The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase.
Mister Malarky and Jonjo O'Neill Jr on the way to winning The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase.
Image: Julian Herbert

JONJO O’NEILL JNR added another big-race success to his rapidly-expanding CV as Mister Malarky repelled all challengers to win the Betway Handicap Chase at Kempton.

For the third successive Saturday, O’Neill jnr teamed up to great effect with Colin Tizzard, following on from the Denman Chase success of Native River and last weekend’s Reynoldstown triumph with Copperhead.

Mister Malarky (9-1) looked a possible star when winning last year’s Reynoldstown, but after three luckless runs before Christmas, he roared back to form in this Grade Three heat.

O’Neill jnr pushed him to the front turning for home, with the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Black Corton and Sametegal doing their best to get back on terms jumping the last three obstacles.

Mister Malarky kept finding for pressure though, with a loose horse appearing to aid his task as he kept on to the line for a two-length victory over favourite Black Corton.

Sametegal took third, with the staying-on Whatmore bagging fourth place.

Tizzard said: “The ground has come right and it proves he wasn’t quite 100% early on in the season. I would say that is his best ever run.

“It was a brilliant ride from Jonjo O’Neill as he was shoving him along after a mile to keep up. He never missed a beat over the final five fences.

“He is in the Ultima and I’m sure he will go there if he comes out of this race OK, as that was the idea on better ground. This is the horse we saw last season.

“It was probably the ground (for last run) He was a good sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy and he definitely got stuck in the heavy ground at Ascot.

“It is 63 days since he last run as we just couldn’t run him, but in hindsight it has been the best thing we’ve done.”

He added: “I’ve no doubt we will talk about the Grand National next year. The National is not what it used to be as they are not the fences they were. It is a good staying race and this is a really good staying handicapper now.

“I’m chuffed for the horse and Wendy and Malcolm (Hezel, owners).”

Earlier, Solo thrust himself into the JCB Triumph Hurdle picture after demolishing his rivals on his British debut in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.

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The four-year-old – who is still an entire – booked his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival as he proved a class above his rivals in the Grade Two prize, on his first start for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Front rank throughout the two-mile contest, the 6-4 favourite quickly put the race to bed early in the home straight, before crossing the line 13 lengths clear of the previously unbeaten Fujimoto Flyer.

Song For Someone produced a power-packed late thrust to get the better of a thrilling finish to the Betway Kingwell Hurdle.

The Grade Two was due to be run at Wincanton last weekend, only for Storm Dennis to scupper that plan, but Song For Someone took full advantage of the decision to reschedule the event.

Sent off the 11-8 favourite for trainer Tom Symonds and jockey Aidan Coleman, Song For Someone raced on the heels of the pace-setting Quick Grabim but looked to be beaten as Diego Du Charmil seized control coming to the penultimate flight.

Coleman was working hard on his mount as Ch’tibello tried to edged out Diego Du Charmil after jumping the last, but Song For Someone found a second wind, coming flying down the outside to pinch victory on the line.

He beat Diego Du Charmil by half a length – giving Symonds the biggest win of his career to date – with the game Ch’tibello a further neck back in third.

Highway One O Two claimed the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle for trainer Chris Gordon, with West Cork coming in second and Kid Commando third. 

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