Racing: Boychuk aims at the top after heading rout of favourites

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The Independent Online

Odds-on backers had the worst of it at Newbury yesterday, with three perceived certainties going down in the first four races. In the opening juvenile hurdle My Petra made it three for three when she turned over the 8-13 favourite Freeze The Flame; then in the beginners' chase Killaghy Castle saw off the 8-11 shot Briareus, both the runners-up ridden by Tony McCoy.

In the Grade Two novices' three-mile chase Boychuk, from Philip Hobbs's yard, earned a tilt at the highest level after he accounted fair and square for Gungadu, the Paul Nicholls-trained 4-9 market leader. Boychuk, who had some near misses in the best company as a hurdler, not only galloped home the more resolutely under Richard Johnson but had jumped the better.

The Feltham Chase at Kempton's Boxing Day meeting is now on the five-year-old's agenda. "It's the obvious place to go," Hobbs said. "For one who stays so well he's not short of pace, though he wouldn't want it too soft. He was very careful first time out over fences at Exeter but had more confidence today and his jumping was brilliant."

Killaghy Castle put himself in the Arkle Trophy frame with his success, a more than competent first effort over fences. "I knew two miles and a furlong might be too short," said the six-year-old's trainer, Nick Gifford, "but a big, galloping track like this brings jumping to the fore."

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