MULHOLLAND FINDS KEY TO MASTER
The Young Master has raced back to form this season, winning at Chepstow recently and then landing today's Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase.
Sent off at 9/2, the Sam Waley-Cohen-ridden winner beat Station Master (7/2f) and Walk In The Mill (25/1) by eight lengths and 14 lengths. The rider carried the colours of his father, Cheltenham chairman Robert Waley-Cohen, although the gelding runs in the name of partners Mike Burbidge and The Old Masters, aka Waley-Cohen senior and brothers Steve and Martin Broughton.
The winner made much of the running and showed plenty of zest when challenged. His trainer, Neil Mulholland, said: "The form of the Chepstow race has worked out well, and he's still only nine, which people forget because he seems to have been around a long time. He's very genuine, gutsy and in tremendous form.
"Maybe my horses were a bit under the weather last year, and it's hard to be on form every year from two to nine - he's been very competitive in the past and he has course form around Cheltenham. Thankfully Sam's given him a great ride again and it's worked out.
"The nicer ground the better. We'll leave him in the Ladbrokes Trophy (December 1) at Newbury and I'll talk to the owners about that, but we're not under any pressure. The plan was always to try and win a couple of races early, then give him a break and bring him back in the spring for races like the Scottish National and Bet365 Gold Cup. We have options, and Aintree would be on the agenda."
WALEY-COHEN IS MASTERFUL
Sam Waley-Cohen dominated the opening race of The November Meeting, proving yet again he is one of the best amateur riders of his generation.
Riding 9/2 shot The Young Master, trained by Neil Mulholland, he made nearly all the running in the Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase and, despite being challenged two fences from home, went away to win by eight lengths from the 7/2 favourite, Station Master.
Waley-Cohen was greeted in the winner's enclosure by his father Robert, who is Cheltenham's chairman.
Waley-Cohen, who won the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011 on Long Run, said: "He's a front-running, big-jumping, staying chaser, so the plan was to let him go and enjoy himself. He's had a great time - as did I!
"He's a stayer, he's run in Bet365 Gold Cups [winning the Sandown race in 2016], so we wanted to make sure they didn't close up on him too easily, and actually he's galloped away to the line. He's done it well.
"He's a horse who's not going to show you much more than he has to, so I was pleased he galloped away to the line in the way he did, because every now and then he pricks his ears and says that's enough. He was great - a pleasure. He's certainly revived, is jumping well and enjoying himself, so I think on his day he's got a bit left.
"The ground is beautiful, probably just on the slow side of good. But when you win, the ground is great!"
STATION CAN'T MASTER THE YOUNG MASTER
Top-class Irish amateur Jamie Codd was pleased with the performance of the Kim Bailey-trained Station Master, the well-backed 7/2 favourite, who finished eight-length second to 9/2 shot The Young Master in the opening race of the 2018 November Meeting, the Markel insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong.
Station Master was always prominent, but could not match the potent turn of foot displayed by front-running The Young Master, ridden by Mr Sam Waley-Cohen and trained by Neil Mulholland near Bath, in the closing stages.
Codd said: "Station Master ran well. That was his first real true test at a track like Cheltenham where there was pressure on his jumping.
"He is only a young horse and he will improve again for that experience.
"He was beaten by an older horse in The Young Master, who is enjoying a resurgence in his form.
"It was a good run from an inexperienced horse in a handicap who has a good future ahead of him."
The Robert Walford-trained Walk In The Mill (25/1) finished a further 14 lengths behind in third. His rider Martin McIntyre said: "I'm very happy with Walk In The Mill. He ran on well in the closing stages and kept on finding for me.
"He has run over shorter trips, but I think he enjoys this sort of trip now."
Jameson fell at the second last when coming to challenge and, after his injuries were assessed by the vets who immediately treated him, was humanely put down.
JOCKEYS ON GOING
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen, rider of the eight-length winner The Young Master said: "The ground is beautiful and just on the slow side of good."
Mr Jamie Codd, jockey of second-placed Station Master, commented: "It's beautiful ground which is on the easy side of good."
Mr Martin McIntyre, partnering third-placed Walk In The Mill, described the ground as: "Perfect, jumping ground."
Mr Noel George, aboard fourth home Bally Longford, commented: "It's on the slow side of good."
Mr Richard Harding, partnering Lovely Job (fifth), said: "It's on the slow side of good."
Mr Derek O'Connor, riding For Good Measure (sixth), reported: "It's on the slow side."
Mr Patrick Mullins, aboard Sky Pirate (fell), commented: "Slow side of good
Ms Lisa O'Neill, jockey of Presenting Julio, said: "It's good ground with bits of soft in places."
12.40pm Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (0-140) 3m 1f
1 The Young Master (Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters) Neil Mulholland 9-11-08 Mr Sam Waley-Cohen 9/2
2 Station Master (Penny Perriss) Kim Bailey 7-11-06 Mr Jamie Codd 7/2F
3 Walk In The Mill (Baroness Harding) Robert Harding 8-11-09 Mr Martin McIntyre (3) 25/1
Distances: 8, 14
Tote Win: £4.80 Places: £1.90 £1.60 £5.40 Exacta: £16.40