Logo of Racing
itv |

Racing

Jonbon makes all for Celebration success

The pair had initially been due to meet in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot back in January only to be scuppered by the weather, while a possible Queen Mother Champion Chase face-off did not happen as Jonbon was ruled out by trainer Nicky Henderson during a tough period when his stable was under a cloud.

However, the Seven Barrows team has been resurgent in recent weeks with Jonbon quickly back in action after a hard-fought win when stepped up to two and a half miles in the Melling Chase at Aintree earlier this month.

Ridden with supreme confidence by Nico de Boinville, Jonbon (15-8) was to the fore from the off, putting in some extravagant leaps and turning for home firmly in command.

He fairly flew up the straight, clearing the last with a good advantage and galloped home four lengths in front of the 4-6 favourite El Fabiolo, who made a couple of jumping errors as he failed to atone for a costly mistake at Cheltenham that had seen him pulled up in the Champion Chase.

Henderson said: “I said to Nico after to Fantastic Lady (who came from last to first in the Oaksey Chase), ‘don’t do that in the next’ as that was meant to make the running and he ended up at the back. He knows he has my full trust but I can’t believe he was ever going to drop this lad out and he didn’t.

“We knew a week ago whatever happens we were going to have to go out and drum this race and make it a proper test. We had to test the stamina because we stay two and a half and we had to test everyone’s jumping.

“He’s not flawless as we saw at Cheltenham (when second in the rescheduled Clarence House) but he’s brave and two brave people went out there today and thank goodness they’re all in one piece and we start again next year.

“It was just a shame he couldn’t be at Cheltenham because once El Fabiolo had popped out of the race, then it looked winnable from Jonbon’s point of view. He would have to have jumped round himself but he couldn’t because he wasn’t there.

“I think he’s regained his place in the pecking order of two-mile chasers. He gets from A to B very quickly.

“He’s flown the flag all year and it was a brave horse to do that today and a brave jockey as well to be fair, as he had to ask him questions.”

Henderson and owner JP McManus will now consider future plans over the summer, with options over a variety of distances on the table.

The trainer added: “I was always thinking the Ascot Chase might be the place to start him next season, but Nico’s now talking about three whereas at Aintree he was saying go back to two! I don’t know what he’s thinking but it doesn’t matter. We’ve got all summer and we can’t ask the horse. We’ve just got to decide ourselves where is his optimum.

“Dusting it up like that and making it a proper test of jumping and galloping is pretty damn good.”

Logo of Racing
itv |

Racing