Trainer Colin Tizzard is yet to finalise his Cheltenham team for The Festival™ next month but Elixir De Nutz looks set to form part of it after “coming back to his best” with a stylish success at Kempton Park today.
The Terry Warner-owned eight year old added to his last time out success at Plumpton, which was his first win since tasting Grade One glory in the 2019 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown Park, with victory in the Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over 2m 2f.
Putting in a near foot-perfect round of jumping, the 2-1 joint favourite coasted home by 13 lengths to complete an 18.5-1 double for both Tizzard and jockey Brendan Powell, who was riding his 49th winner of the campaign.
Tizzard said: “He was a good horse as a novice hurdler. He then had issues with a leg injury and he just look awkward for the past year until today.
“He was a different horse today. He looked well when we put the saddle on. He was brilliant and his whole manner when we tacked him up today was like a proper horse.
“He walked through that second last at Plumpton a few times but today he was perfect and we saw a different horse today.
“We have got to remember he was a Grade One winner and it has always been in the tank. He is coming back to his best again I say.
“It is an absolute pleasure seeing him back like this. Brendan rode him like a good horse but he is a good horse. It is lovely to see.”
An outing in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase appears next on the agenda for Elixir De Nutz, as opposed to a return to Grade One company in the Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase at The Festival.
Following today’s race both Paddy Power and William Hill made Elixir De Nutz a 20-1 chance for the Grand Annual while Sky Bet were left further impressed and trimmed him to 16-1 for the Grade Three handicap chase.
Tizzard added: “Joe (Tizzard, son and assistant trainer) said the Grand Annual as long as he didn’t go up to much would be the plan but no one saw that coming today.
“Terry Warner will have his plans with Joe and we have to base all the facts on today’s run. There are two nice races at Cheltenham to think about and that will be his next run.”
Killer Kane got the ball rolling for both Tizzard and Powell when opening his account over fences in The Every Race Live On Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase (3m).
Appearing to appreciate the step up in distance, the 11-2 chance had enough in hand to hold off fast finishing 13-8 Favourite Valsheda by a length and a half.
Powell said: “He jumped and travelled nicely and I was always happy really. Jamie (Moore, on Eragon De Chanay) set nice fractions up front.
“I thought on his old form he would take all the beating but there was just a few question marks on his last couple of runs in which Killer Kane would turn up but he has put it all together today.
“He had a tongue tie on but maybe the step up in trip has helped him as they have just gone that bit slower. An easy three miles is fine for him. He has done what he had do.”
Owner Stephen Bean was full of praised for trainer Alexandra Dunn after Sarceaux (9-2) opened her account over jumps at the 12th time of asking when scoring by a short-head under Fergus Gillard in the opening Join Racing TV Now Conditional Jockeys’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (2m).
Bean, manager of the Racehorse Ownership Club, said: “We got her in a claimer from France about a year and a half ago.
“She had a good juvenile campaign and ran against horses like Tritonic. She has just been finding her way but we knew the win was just around the corner.
“She likes racing in slightly higher class races off a low weight while she doesn’t like big fields. The small field like this was perfect.”
“It really is fantastic as she is a lovely mare with a great attitude.
“Alex Dunn trains all the horses and she has a fantastic set up down there. She knows the horses inside out and she gets the best out of the horses.”