Put The Kettle On (7/4) maintained her perfect record at Cheltenham when bravely getting the better of Duc des Genievres in the G2 Shloer Chase.
Henry de Bromhead’s mare was making a third consecutive appearance over two miles at the Home of Jump Racing, having annexed both the G2 Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase and the G1 Arkle Novices’ Chase during a stellar 2019/20 season.
The 2019 Arkle Novices’ Chase winner Duc des Genievres, making his first start since switching to Paul Nicholls, made a bold bid from the front under Harry Cobden and looked to have his rivals in trouble after kicking for home three fences out.
Put The Kettle On started to close in rounding the home turn but still had four lengths to make up jumping the last. She made inexorable progress as Duc des Genievres wandered around up the run-in, hitting the front in the closing stages for a length and a quarter verdict.
Riders Onthe Storm finished a distant third as 6/5 favourite Defi du Seuil was pulled up before the last.
Aidan Coleman said: "She has gone very well. She has a massive heart, this filly, because she hated the ground, was never happy the whole way, and it is a testament to one her ability, obviously and two, her attitude. It was a hard race for her. But she has only run once previous to this since November last year, and she might have been a touch rusty as well, but when I got on top I won well.
"Obviously, if you look at the form of the Arkle Trial last year it doesn't stand up, but her Arkle form does; that was probably strong form. I wouldn't read into that that she must be in a good place to win, when after jumping two fences I am not happy. That is a long way to go in a championship race. A previous Arkle winner was second and where was everyone else? In another parish. Fair play to her.
"Yes, she has three from three here, but I think that is coincidence; if they were run anywhere else she would have won. She has won on all sorts of tracks, but if you are going to like a course, and especially be a two-miler, the Old Course at Cheltenham is the place to be, isn't it?
"I think she can be a Champion Chaser - of course she can. Whether that means being competitive or winning only time will tell, but she is value for more today considering the feel I got all the way round. She will be there, she will be in the money, but whether she's first or fourth, you don't know, do you, but she is a credit to connections and a delight to have.
“There is no badness in her, once you get on her you can see she is very placid when you are going. I have been riding her out the last three days as because of Covid, Henry [de Bromhead] couldn’t send as many people over as he normally would. Whoever rides her out at home deserves a medal anyway, you have to ride her as long as you are on her anyway!”
Coleman credited his recent return from injury as “all down to Oaksey House.”
He continued: “The Injured Jockeys Fund is what puts us back on the track months before we should be. If I had my injury 10 years ago, I would have been out for six months. Because of Oaksey House, I have halved it — and that is not an effort from me, that is an effort from them. We would be lost without the Injured Jockeys Fund.”
Paul Nicholls said: “I wasn’t expecting that from Duc des Genievres - I didn’t know what to expect! It was a really good run and I am delighted with him.”
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Defi du Seuil, said: ‘“Defi du Seuil is perfectly all right. He was travelling well at the top of the hill, but then he just got very tired very quickly and Richard Johnson thought there was no point jumping the last.”
Richard Johnson, rider of Defi du Seuil, said: “Defi du Seuil was going well. However, he was very tired jumping the second last. I just thought it was the right thing to do to pull him up after that, but he does seem to be fine after the race.”
2.25pm Shloer Chase (Grade 2) 1m 7f 199y
1 Put The Kettle On – Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-10-10 Aidan Coleman 7/4
2 Duc des Genievres – Paul Nicholls 7-11-00 Harry Cobden 8/1
3 Riders Onthe Storm – Nigel Twiston-Davies 7-11-06 Sam Twiston-Davies 13/2
6/5 fav Defi du Seuil (PU)
Distances: 1¼, 56
Tote Win: £2.20 Exacta: £12.70 Trifecta: £24.40