1.50pm £75,000Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 127y
Siruh Du Lac (6/1) completed a hat-trick of handicap chase victories when rallying strongly to deny Janika in a thrilling finish.
The Nick Williams-trained six-year-old was always at the head of affairs under Lizzie Kelly and repelled the challenges of Activial (8/1, Tom George/Tom Scudamore) and Ballyhill (7/1, Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jordan Naylor) turning for home.
5/2 favourite Janika (Daryl Jacob/Nicky Henderson) travelled well into the race and hit the front with an economical jump at the final fence, but Siruh Du Lac rallied up the run-in to regain the advantage near the line and hold on by a head. The first two finished nine lengths clear of Ballyhill in third of the 11 runners.
Devon-based trainer Nick Williams commented: "I thought that this might a step too far as we had been going for lesser races at lesser tracks, but we felt that Siruh Du Lac was ready to take on an open handicap.
"He is a hugely impressive jumper, he always has been, but I didn't think that we would get back up. It was a huge relief and we have won a few races here by very tight margins.
"We will have to see how he is before deciding whether to come back here in March. He doesn't take a lot of racing - he has only had three or four starts each year - and he needs a gap between his races.
"We have given him six weeks before running here today and it's seven until The Festival, so we will have a look at it."
Lizzie Kelly said: "Siruh Du Lac is a lot of fun because his jumping is brilliant. He was so good that we sent him chasing at four and he is formidable.
"Today was the first day that he has actually been headed in a finish but he has come back and really dug deep. I was really impressed.
"I thought that was it when Janika headed us - I was going through the motions and thought 'Bloody hell, we are coming back again'. Thank God, it was just in time.
"I think Siruh Du Lac is a horse with a good future and I love the fact that we have done everything very much going up the ladder slowly. This is the hardest race he has had and, every time he runs, he runs a good race.
"His jumping is so good and he gets himself into the right position in his races because he is so quick over the first couple of fences. You are never having to push him along to get where you want to be."
Casse Tete broke a leg on the flat between fences and was humanely put down.
China International Women’s Match Race
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