WYESIDE horse Royale Pagaille ruled the roost at Haydock to help Kings Caple trainer Venetia Williams make history as the first ever woman to train the winner of the £200,000 Grade 1 Betfair Chase.
And the three-time Gold Cup runner did it in style, racing clear of this year’s runner-up at Cheltenham, Bravemansgame, with 2023 Grand National winner Corach Rambler lengths back in third and defending champion Protektorat well beaten in fourth.
Wyeside horse Royale Pagaille winning the Betfair Chase
Delighted Venetia, who trained 2009 Grand National winner Mon Mome,said: “This ranks pretty high in my career – we’ve won a lot of nice races but this one is up there.”
The nine-year-old – sixth in this year’s Gold Cup – was second in the Betfair in 2021 and returned to the Grade One contest at a price of 5/1 under Charlie Deutsch, having never been out of the first two in four previous trips to the Merseyside venue.
Dan Skelton’s Protektorat was occasionally erratic in his jumping and Lucinda Russell’s Corach Rambler – who is also looked after by her partner Peter Scudamore, the former champion jockey from Bromsash near Ross, found the pace too hot.
It was left to Royale Pagaille and Paul Nicholls’ King’s George winner Bravemansgame, the 8/11 favourite, to share the lead in the battle for top honours in the 3 mile 1 1/2F race.
And it was Venetia’s charge who pushed on, jumping well over the final two fences to claim his biggest success to date by 6 1/2L, with Corach Rambler, another 9L back in third.
The trainer said after the Saturday, November 25 win: “Charlie got him into a great rhythm but he said for the first circuit he was quite laid back and not really grabbing the bridle. It wasn’t until he pulled him out wide that he did.
“He jumped very well, but if you’d seen him school on Thursday you wouldn’t believe it. But that’s him, he shows very little at home and switches it on for the races.
“You’d have to say that’s a career best from him. All horses have their day and have their lesser days. If all the others were at the top of their game then it might put a different light on it. The same applies to us on other days, on this day we were the best.
“He has never had his ground at Cheltenham. Who knows, this year he might. Grade Ones are very hard to get so I’m absolutely thrilled for everyone at the yard.”