Somersby got the big race victory he has long deserved when he saw off Finian’s Rainbow to win the 25th running Of The Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
Henrietta Knight’s charge was beaten by Master Minded in last years renewal but got up close home to claim the Grade 1 contest this afternoon.
Novice Al Ferof stayed on for third but trainer Paul Nicholls later confirmed that he will run in the Arkle Chase at the festival. Today however was all about Somersby.
Winning rider Dominic Elsworth said: “I’m delighted for the horse.
“He’s been a bit of a bridesmaid, but he’s done it nicely.
“I always knew he was going to stay on towards the end.”
“Everything went in my favour. They did quicken away from me a bit going to the second last, but I knew he would stay.
“He jumped extremely well. Days like this make it all worthwhile when you are getting up at the crack of dawn every morning.”
Trainer Henrietta Knight added: “I questioned whether I’d made the right choice running him back over two miles but thought he deserved another pop at it as he’d gone so close last year.
“Terry (Biddlecombe, husband) is thrilled and crying his eyes out.
“He has this one wonderful surge and Dominic got it dead right today.
“It’s the best January I can remember for us.”
Knight now has a choice of Festival races to consider, but added: “He’s not in the Gold Cup.
“If it were my choice I would like him to go for the Ryanair.
“I think that’s the right race for him.”