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Charlie Hall Chase: Brilliant Bravemansgame downs Ahoy Senor and now just 3-1 for the King George on Boxing Day

NEVER mind God’s Own Country, Yorkshire is the home of t’Brave.

Paul Nicholls’ big bruiser Bravemansgame swanned into Wetherby and took the county’s biggest jumps race with a dominant display.

Bravemansgame made a brilliant return to action at Wetherby

He is now as short as 3-1 for the King George at Kempton

It’s been a while since the Charlie Hall Chase had a proper star on its roll of honour, but there is little doubt this seven-year-old is out of the top drawer.

He travelled powerfully from the outset and jumped like Zebedee on his way to an emphatic win under top jock Harry Cobden.

It is rare these days to get a clash of the big guns so early in the season.

But while Ahoy Senor was busy firing an almighty blank, Bravemansgame was locking-on to his fences with cruise-missile precision.

On the face of it – beating Eldorado Allen by a touch over three lengths – you’d say he would need to improve a fair chunk to trouble Willie Mullins’ monster Allaho in the King George.

It was the manner of the victory, though, that was so impressive.

He gave you the impression he had several more gears to go through if needed, and his champion trainer had a real glint in his eye when giving his post-race debrief.

Nicholls said: “He is as good as any of our previous winners – Silvianco Conti, See More Business, he is up there with them.

“Cheltenham might not be his bag, but I think the King George looks absolutely made for him. 

“He has won a Grade 1 around Kempton and was really impressive, and in effect this was his first strong piece of work today. 

“I have left plenty to work on before Boxing Day, and the King George is our one and only aim.

“I wouldn’t rule out the Gold Cup, I just have a niggling doubt in my mind that three and a quarter miles around Cheltenham.

“Ahoy Senor is a very good horse, he beat us twice around Aintree, and he probably didn’t perform today.

“But our lad was fantastic.”

Cobden was grinning from ear to ear after his armchair ride, and he can’t wait to get back on the horse in the King George – for which he was cut into 3-1 from 4s with Coral – in December.

He said: “He got sweaty at the start and I was starting to worry he had run his race beforehand – after three fences he was very relaxed and jumped impeccably. 

“He will come on a hell of a lot for that. This year Paul has trained him differently and hopefully he will last into March and April for those big Festivals. 

“I know the boss has left plenty under the bonnet for another day – Kempton should be fun.”

Peter Scudamore, assistant trainer and partner to Ahoy Senor’s trainer Lucinda Russell, was lost for words after his bitterly disappointing flop.

He trailed home last of five runners and Scudamore said: “Of course it is disappointing. We don’t know why he has run like that yet. 

“Maybe he needed the run more than we thought, but when this happens it is better to get them home and check them over. 

“Derek said he did too much early on. As long as he is ok that’s the main thing. Bit of a head-scratcher at the moment.”

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