Whiskey Chaser made his 2017/18 seasonal debut on the 6th of December at Haydock Park. Eight entrants made up the field for The 14:25 Northern Racing Club Handicap Chase. The race would be contested over a distance of 2m 6f.
I had no complaints about the location of the race, Haydock Park is one of the closest National Hunt courses to where I live. It gets mixed reactions from punters, but I personally like the place. The parade ring is my favourite part of the course, lined with trees and at the centre a weighing room with a grass green roof and a viewing platform to the side which offers a great place to watch the horses before they go down to the starting line.
The training team at Bankhouse remarked before the race that Whiskey came back from his summer break looking better than ever. In previous years his first race of the year didn’t produce any performances of note. My expectations were limited to a safe spin over the fences.
A strong turn out from the syndicate ensured Whiskey would have plenty of support on the course. The pre-race favourite was the 7-year-old Just Georgie trained by Grand National winner Sue Smith. Money Wing was another horse who attracted money. Prior to the race start, Whiskey Chaser touched 9/1 but went off at 17/2 with most bookies.
Officially the going was Heavy and the two previous races had seen the horses struggling with the conditions. The race started and straight away Whiskey made a blunder at the first fence. Jockey, Will Kennedy, quickly got him back into a rhythm and he settled down behind Morney Wing and Purple Harry. At the two-mile point, it looked like Whiskey might be losing ground. However, he was soon back in the frame and had a share of the lead with four other horses just before fence eight. With just five fences to jump it was difficult to pick a potential winner from any of six horses still challenging. The second placed horse Just Georgie made an error at the penultimate ditch and parted company with jockey Danny Cook despite his best effort to stay onboard. From four fences out Whiskey Chaser started to reel in Back To The Thatch and Morney Wing and by the last fence he was neck and neck with the two leading runners but finishing stronger than either of them. A victory by three lengths was well deserved by Whiskey Chaser and a fitting early Christmas present for the Syndicate owners who stuck with the horse.
A special thank you goes to the race sponsors Northern Racing Club – they made everyone feel welcome after the race and provided some excellent photos. Click here to check out the NRC website.
So the Christmas festivities kicked off with a fantastic win for Frodo and the Bankhouse team. Let’s hope the new year brings more of the same for all!