The Philip Hobbs-trained Chance Du Roy made up for the disappointment of finishing runner-up in the 2012 John Smith’s Topham Trophy by getting the better of a tremendous tussle with the admirable veteran Baby Run in a fine race for the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree’s December fixture.
In a race run at a solid gallop throughout, Baby Run, less than a month short of his 14th birthday and absent from racecourse duty for more than two-and-a-half years, made an incredibly brave bid to lead all the way. Under Sam Twiston-Davies, the 2010 Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase winner – who was also in front two from home in the same race a year later when unseating Willie Twiston-Davies – jumped like a stag and had most of his much younger rivals in big trouble as they turned for home.
Still three-lengths clear jumping the final fence, Baby Run began to send out distress signals approaching The Elbow as Tom O’Brien on Chance Du Roy gradually started to close the gap. It was only in the last 100 yards that Baby Run’s old legs finally failed him as Chance Du Roy, (not winning out of turn having been second to Always Waining in the Topham Chase 20 months earlier), stayed on best to score by a length.
The Crabbies Grand National on April 5th might well be on the agenda for Chance Du Roy, although there is a serious question mark about him seeing out the extra 10 furlongs. There is no doubt however that Hobbs’ charge loves the track and jumps the awesome spruce fences with plenty of relish.
He is currently a 40/1 shot in the ante-post list for the Aintree spectacular, a race that his popular handler has yet to win.