Racing: Nickname shines through the fog to show Festival class

For Aintree 1947, read Punchestown 2007. Sixty years ago Caughoo emerged from a thick fog to win a Grand National of which only the last couple of fences were visible to those in the stands. Yesterday it was Nickname who loomed best from a mist that descended on the Co Kildare track for part of the afternoon. But at least it was certain that he and Ruby Walsh completed all of the race. Poor Caughoo and his rider, Eddie Dempsey, later faced unfounded accusations that they had pulled up in the country, lurked unseen, and joined in again second time round.

As the field of eight for the two-mile Tied Cottage Chase disappeared into the gloom, Central House led Tumbling Dice with the two-mile champion, Newmill, running over fences for the first time this term, in third and Nickname near the back. Then, for nearly three minutes, there was silence and wonderment.

The first audible news for racegoers was bad; those watching live could not see it, but commentator Des Scahill was able to pick it up on his monitor, courtesy of a remote camera. Newmill, still third, had taken a crashing fall four fences out.

The first sighting for punters was better; two fences out Walsh kicked Nickname, the 9-10 favourite, past Central House and into a growing lead. After the last the big brown French-bred quickened away for a seven-length success. Central House, seeing Nickname's powerful quarters for the fourth time this season, held off Steel Band for second.

What is clear is that Nickname is the best two-miler in Ireland by some way; Andrew McNamara, Newmill's rider, conceded that the best he would have been was second. But there is nothing opaque about the caveat that accompanies Martin Brassil's charge on his journey to the Queen Mother Champion Chase: his road must be a soft one.

Though yesterday's terrain was slightly quicker than he had trodden on his previous three victories this season, it was still easy on the hoof. And Brassil will continue to make hay with the eight-year-old while the sun does not shine, with an outing at Naas three weeks hence. "Ruby said they went a good gallop and he settled lovely," said the trainer. "He is having it so easy that the races are not taking that much out of him, and that's why he's able to run so often."

Walsh reported that Nickname overcame interference going to the final turn. "The two in front got a bit tight in front of me," he said, "but I had a lovely run in the straight and he quickened so well. If he does run at Cheltenham, he's got to be a huge player."

He was cut again for the two-mile crown after yesterday's effort, and is now vying for third favouritism at 6-1, behind Voy Por Ustedes and Newmill, who was reported relatively unscathed after his tumble. "He has a cut over one eye that will need a few stitches," his trainer, John Murphy, said, "but other than that he's fine."

De Valira, hitherto favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, was trounced by 50-1 shot Orbit O'Gold, given an enterprising ride from the front by Slippers Madden. The winner, another promising youngster from the Noel Meade academy, is bound for the Festival opener, for which De Valira, who was conceding 6lb yesterday, is out to 10-1.

The fog lifted for the cross-country chase involving the track's trademark banks. And it looks like Enda Bolger has found a natural successor to Spot Thedifference in the enthusiastic winner Heads Onthe Ground.

Detroit City, who kept his position as Champion Hurdle favourite with a gritty defeat of Straw Bear in Saturday's Agfa Hurdle, emerged from his box with a spring in his step yesterday. The giant grey hit the top of the last hurdle with his knees, but took the bump in his stride. "There are no ill-effects," said his trainer, Philip Hobbs, "He's A1, and won't run again before Cheltenham."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition