David Christie became the latest handler to successfully cross the Irish Sea for a tilt at the John Corbet Cup when his Vaucelet won the 2021 edition on Stratford’s Hunter Chase evening.
Narrowly denied on his stable debut in a Portrush maiden back in the autumn, the six-year-old returned from the point-to-point suspension when defeating the subsequent Necarne winner William Tyndale to open his account in a Down Royal Hunter Chase at the beginning of the month.
Sent off as a 4/1 shot for the 3m 3f contest, Ben Harvey was content to bide his time on the French bred son of Authorized before a number of good jumps along the side of the course saw the pair arrive with their challenge.
Swinging into the home straight the warm favourite Fumet D’oudairies was able to close, albeit hard ridden to do so, however from the back of the last Vaucelet was able to stamp his authority on the race to win going away by two and a half lengths.
In winning, Vaucelet becomes the third horse in the last six runnings of the pointtopoint.co.uk Champion Novice Hunter Chase to have successfully crossed the Irish Sea in the £18,500 contest.
The victory continues an excellent recent spell of success for owners Jennifer O’Kane and John Hegarty, with horses such as Winged Leader and Ask D’man successfully carrying the colours in recent weeks – all of whom are trained by Christie who led up the six-year-old himself having saddled his 300th point-to-point winner at Ballingarry just five days earlier.
“It looked quite a competitive race on paper, but I couldn’t have been happier with him every step of the way. He put in the best display that I have ever seen. He was electric,” said the winning rider.
“I was happy everywhere with him and I winged the second last which left me there a bit sooner than I would have liked but in fairness to him he toughed it out. He was a bit slow away at the back of the last, but he rallied away.
“He has improved a lot since Down Royal, he was very green that day but still managed to win and I would imagine he will continue to progress.
“I would say that he will progress to be a top-class hunter chaser.”