Unique day for both Pauling and Jones with the pair combining for a 730-1 Treble at Ascot

By Peter Moore at Ascot Saturday 17th February 2024

Ben Pauling and Ben Jones combined to bring up a 730-1 treble on Betfair Chase Race Day at Ascot on Saturday.

The in form Naunton based trainer Pauling, saddled Pic Roc to victory in the opener before Henry’s Friend managed to see off four other rivals in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices Steeple Chase by just getting the better of the highly fancied Brave Kingdom under Harry Cobden by a head.

The seven-year-old Henry’s Friend benefited from the use of first time  cheek pieces and managed to back up his last appearance when winning at Hereford over 2m 5f.

The deadly combination of Pauling and Jones came within a whisker of making it three from three when Bad was beaten by a head from the 18-1 shot Mothill trained by Neil Mulholland.

The fight to win the jockey’s championship is turning into a straight shoutout between Cobden and Sean Bowen.

Cobden nudged ahead of his rival when victorious on the top weight Threeunderthrufive in the 2m 7f handicap steeple chase, by steering the nine year-old to victory by a head from Rapper, who was staying on well at the end, to win by a length and bring up the first leg of a double for Cobden and trainer Paul Nicholls, who lifted the main race of the day The Betfair Ascot Steeple Chase, when Pic D’Orhy led from start to finish with an outstanding display of jumping to win by five and a half lengths from L’Homme Presse.

The contest was billed before the off to be between Pic D’Orhy and L’Homme Presse with the other two runners Ahoy Senor and Sail Away left to contest third and fourth placed prize money.

At the start Cobden decided to lead from the front on Pic D’Orhy and the horse was never headed.

Winning trainer Nicholls has increasingly adopted through his career of tackling big races outside the Cheltenham Festival in March. The second and third in the race are on route to Cheltenham, the winner will now head straight to Aintree to line up in the Melling Chase and aim for a repeat win.

“That’s why Harry is vying to be champion jockey, it was a fantastic ride,” said Nicholls, who with five successes has won the Ascot Chase more times than any other trainer. “We were always going to be positive and to put some good horses in their place like that was fantastic.  

“Harry knows him well enough and I don’t have to tell him what to do. He nicked a few lengths [at the start] and he was never going to stop. I really want Harry to be champion jockey. He deserves it and he’s riding like a champion jockey.” 

Despite the disappointment of L’Homme Presse beaten on the day by a better horse, part owner Andy Edwards was not to down beat.

“He needs an extra five furlongs so it was always going to be tough when there was no rain last night,” said Edwards. “I did half think about not running him yesterday but he needed the run before the Gold Cup and I’m really happy.”