Before the Lincoln and the Dubai World Cup come round and hog the limelight on the weekend’s Channel 4 racing, there was still time for the National Hunt brigade to leave us with something to savour.
Less than two weeks since his younger half-brother galloped his way to the biggest accolade in jumps racing, Carruthers was back at the scene of his greatest victory.
It appeared early on that the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup winner was reluctant to go with the 10-strong field at Newbury, languishing out the back over the first couple of fences.
But Gold Cup winning jockey Nico de Boinville used his nous to get his mount interested, sending from last to first, seemingly igniting the 12-year-old’s enthusiasm.
From then on in, the veteran had it all his own way, and like Coneygree eight days earlier, he had many struggling.
He desperately needed the line to come as he attempted to thwart the onrushing challenge of Amigo, but the old-timer held on to ensure a popular victory at the Berkshire venue.
Earlier in the card Paul Nicholls saw Rebel Rebellion ensure that he bagged a winner on a 21st straight Saturday in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase.
Another front-running performance, Jack Sherwood’s horse jumped impeccably around the 2m4f course.
Staying on well after the last, 2014’s winner Pepite Rose could do nothing to eat into the lead of the front-runner as he grinded out a nice success.
A crack at the Grand National appears to be his next port of call, for which he is a 33/1 shot.
It is Punchestown, not Aintree, that winner of Saturday’s feature is heading after Kalane came good for Charlie Longsdon in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle.
The six-year-old has struggled with injuries since arriving from France, her handler reporting that he has had to treat her with kid gloves, but she showed no sign of fragility at the weekend.
Left well down the field with a couple to jump, jockey Noel Fehily explained how the mare had got him out of trouble, when slicing through her rivals when asked a question.
After just four runs, you would think there is plenty more to come from the daughter of Kalanisi, but her trainer appeared to suggest that her future lies as a broodmare at the end of the season.
But that will come after a trip across the Irish Sea in April, with a big prize her final target.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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