Riders Onthe Storm back in front in Old Roan Chase
Richard Hobson’s Riders Onthe Storm battled to a hard-fought victory in the Jewson St Helens Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree.
A 16-1 chance under Brian Hughes, the talented nine-year-old was always competitive in the Grade Two and headed for home after the penultimate fence.
Jumping the last in the lead, he joined by the top-weight, Hitman, who pursued him all the way to the line and only just failed to get past.
Eventually crossing the line a head to the good, Riders Onthe Storm claimed a first victory since landing the Grade One Ascot Chase in early 2020 when with Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Hughes said: “I rode him once before, in a novice handicap at Cheltenham for Tom Taaffe, and I remember walking away that day thinking we’d left one behind.
“That day I buried him and he was very keen and didn’t jump and fell early, so today I was very keen to get him his own space and let him use his jumping. He was very good, to be fair to him.
“If anything I was in front a bit soon as he was having a good look around, but he picked up when the second horse came to him.”
Hobson said: “We were in the doldrums all last season with him. His first run was good, but he got injured in Cheltenham and the horses then got sick in the yard and remained sick all the way through until April really.
“The break and the turning out and bringing him back in nice and fresh has done him the world of good, obviously he’s plummeted down the handicap a little bit and he was given a fantastic ride.
“He came in on August 1 and really hasn’t missed a day – his preparation has gone extremely well.”
He added: “It’s been an early start as we were working horses this morning – it never ends. We’re going to celebrate this one, definitely.
“Brian said ‘keep him fresh’ and I think that’s the key to him. If we keep fresh and just keep our powder dry and run him a few times a season, that’s probably the way to go.”