Racing: Challenger takes a fall instead of narrow failure

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The Independent Online
Callisoe Bay won an eventful John Bull Chase at Wincanton yesterday in the colours of the former Pink Floyd guitarist Roger Waters. But the frustrating Challenger Du Luc's run of seconditis came to an abrupt end when he landed on the floor at the fourth-last fence when going ominously well.

With only Stately Home left standing - his other two rivals Amtrak Express and Trying Again were both pulled up - Oliver Sherwood's nine-year-old came home with 10 lengths to spare under Jimmy McCarthy.

"People crab Callisoe Bay for his jumping but he's always trying and not really a natural jumper," Sherwood said. "But he's my hack at home and a real star.

"I will have to look seriously at the Racing Post Chase at Kempton now and though he's in the Cheltenham Gold Cup I think the races are too close together. If he won the Racing Post Chase that would be his Gold Cup."

Nevertheless, Coral reacted by halving Callisoe Bay's Gold Cup odds to 50-1 from 100-1 and extended Challenger Du Luc's price to 33-1 from 25- 1. The same firm also cut Escartfigue to 40-1 from 50-1 after David Nicholson's novice cantered to a facile win in the Grade Two Towton Chase at Wetherby.

Challenger Du Luc's rider, Tony McCoy, bounced back to win the novices' handicap chase on Capenwray, described by his trainer, Jeff King, as "the unluckiest horse I've ever trained". In a race that resembled a battlefield with only four of the 16 runners completing the course, Capenwray had luck on his side this time as he managed to overcome a final-fence blunder.

Jonothan Lower, the first jockey to ride in Britain despite being diagnosed as diabetic, did not enjoy the perfect return. His only mount, the 2-7 chance Totally Yours, was defeated by the 33-1 shot Americanval in the claiming hurdle.

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