Somersby (IRE) has always looked a Grade 1 winner in waiting and he got his turn on Saturday when landing an exciting Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot. He beat fellow Irish bred and former Irish point to pointer Finian’s Rainbow by just over a length with another former Irish point to pointer Al Ferof running a cracker in third. It was an emotional win for trainer Henrietta Knight and her husband Terry Biddlecombe, who has battled his way back to health following a stroke several months ago. It was a first Grade 1 win for jockey Dominic Elsworth and a first Grade 1 in seven years for the trainer who commented; “He travelled very well throughout. It was one of those days where everything went right. It’s a wonderful feeling. Whether he goes for the Champion Chase or the Ryanair I don’t know, but I would like to go for the Ryanair. I think that's the ideal race for him.” Somersby is owned by Trevor and Camilla Radford who have enjoyed great success with other Irish bred horses like Calgary Bay and Racing Demon and like Knight’s triple Gold Cup hero Best Mate, Somersby was bought by the trainer from the late Tom Costello. Somersby was bred by Nicola Ann Adams and is by Second Empire out of Back to Roost. He was sold as a foal in Tattersalls Ireland for €8,800 and his win on Saturday was a major boost to his yearling half brother by Scorpion who is for sale at Tattersalls Ireland next Tuesday 31st January.
Willie Mullins seems to have a stranglehold over Irish jumps racing at the moment and the highlight of his seven winner haul over the weekend was the win of Blazing Tempo (IRE) in the Grade 2 Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. The high class daughter of Accordion has been in training since early last summer when she won the prestigious Galway Plate in July and her win on Sunday was another example of her trainer’s skills. Blazing Tempo, bred by Willie Austin, has now won over €300,000 in prize-money and she comes from the family of that great racehorse Danoli. The winner was the middle leg of a treble for owners Rich and Susan Ricci who were also on the mark on Saturday at Naas with Mikael D’Haguenet. Willie Mullins also won the Listed Mares Hurdle with the Bob Back filly Ceol Rua (IRE), who is owned and bred by Fiona McStay out of a very useful race-mare Glens Music.