Langer Dan turned in an impressive display to take the Grade 3 Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle, the feature event on Saturday’s card at Sandown.
In a race that lost some of its lustre with the withdrawal of six runners, much of the early running was cut out by the favourite Natural History. There was drama early down the back straight when the reins broke on Charlie Todd’s mount Mick Maestro, forcing his exit from the race. Meanwhile up front, Miss Heritage had taken it up and appeared to be the one to beat approaching the second last. However, Langer Dan was travelling ominously well in behind and after having jumped the last well, ranged up alongside the leader before quickening clear for an impressive four-and-a-half length success. Miss Heritage stayed on for a game second ahead of Mack The Man in third.
“He’s just all heart,” trainer Dan Skelton told ITV Racing. “I’ve just got so much admiration for this horse. He’s so tough.”
Langer Dan holds an entry in next Friday’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, in which victory would snare a £50,000 bonus. However, the gelding sits some way down the weights, meaning that a start in the race is far from confirmed.
“I’d say the chance of getting into the race is nil but if he can get in, he’ll run,” said Skelton. “It’s hard to turn round quickly this year but given the prestige of it, he’d have to run if he can get in.”
Langer Dan was the first winner for Coolmore’s Ocovango back in October 2019 and now becomes his sire’s first Graded jumps scorer. The five-year-old was bred by Hugh O’Connor in Ireland out of the unraced What A Fashion, by Milan.
Landmark success for Nailor
Saturday’s Sandown card also featured a landmark success for jockey Jordan Nailor, who steered Beauport to a 28/1 victory for Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Grade 3 European Breeders’ Fund Paddy Power ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final.
Sporting the Grand National-winning colours of Bryan and Philippa Burrough associated with Corbiere, Beauport was held up out the back for much of the race by 22-year-old Nailor and after making smooth headway to take it up approaching the second last, drew clear for an 11-length success from Riggs.
“This is my first winner at Sandown and first Graded or Listed winner,” Nailor told ITV Racing.
“I rode him at Fontwell when he won over 2m6f. He ran well again last time when third over 1m3f – he was staying on nicely and though it was 2m4f today, the bigger climb and ground really helped him out.
“It’s my best season yet and to get a big winner like this means a lot.”
Now the winner of two of his four starts, Beauport is a son of the late Boardsmill Stud stallion Califet. He was bred in Ireland by Byerley Stud Ltd out of the unraced Byerley Beauty, by Brian Boru.
Mums Tipple back
It’s been a long road back but the patience of owners Marian Lyons and Patricia Zanelli was finally rewarded on Saturday as their one-time Classic hope Mums Tipple returned to winning ways in the Listed Bombardier Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton.
One of the most visually impressive winners of recent times when romping by 11 lengths in the Goffs UK Premier Stakes at York back in 2019, Mums Tipple had failed to live up to expectations in six starts since then. However, there was a glimmer of promise in last month’s four-year-old return, when he was beaten under two lengths in the Listed Kachy Stakes at Lingfield Park on his first start since being gelded, and he duly built on that on Saturday with a two-and-a-quarter length score over Lord Of The Lodge under Ryan Moore.
Mums Tipple was bred in Ireland by Abbey Bloodstock out of the unplaced Xaar mare Colomone Cross. He becomes the 65th stakes winner by Coolmore veteran Footstepsinthesand.