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Fitting end to a proper jumps day as Cloudy Glen scores for Trevor Hemmings

It was jump racing weather at Newbury on Saturday as winter arrived in blustery and freezing fashion and the result of the Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase went the way of a proper jump racing enthusiast as Cloudy Glen was propelled to victory under Charlie Deutsch in the famous silks of the late Trevor Hemmings.

Deutsch described their success as by far the sweetest of his career and it meant a massive amount to trainer Venetia Williams as well, while the half-length verdict from Fiddlerontheroof would not have been lost on Hemmings, who died last month after stamping his mark on the winter code, particularly the staying chase division.

His homebred eight-year-old was his fourth winner of the race. He had struck with Trabolgan, Many Clouds and last year's winner Cloth Cap, who carried 18lb more in his repeat bid and finished an honourable sixth after duelling with Cloudy Glen at the head of affairs for much of the race.

That Hemmings' distinctive green, yellow and white colours had such a prominent pitch in arguably Britain's second-best jumps handicap behind the Grand National – which was the owner's favourite event – delighted Williams, who kept the cold out with some natty headwear.

"Trevor was up there and to have his two horses, making the running, turning for home was unbelievable," said the trainer.

"He was a wonderful owner and had such a lovely, wicked sense of humour, but he understood horses and knew you had to be patient. In his business he was on it, but he was so patient with his horses and knew what it took. 

"Seeing his colours upsides in front, I kind of felt at that point my job was done. Little did I know it would get better and better. I'm so thrilled. Trevor bred the horse by his beloved Cloudings and he's been quirky. He wouldn't know if it was Christmas or Easter, and was just as likely to bomb off in the wrong direction at the start."

Racing for the first time since a wind op, Cloudy Glen was blessed with the low weight of 10st 8lb and had bits of form to be a player, including a second in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.

Hemmings was not able to attend that meeting because of the coronavirus pandemic and the billionaire businessman, who also owned Preston North End, died in October at the age of 86.

"Cloudy Glen may be maturing and was always capable of pulling something out of the bag, but you wouldn't know when," added Williams.

"The power from above made it happen today. Two out you're thinking you might win and then you think you might get caught, but there's no thinking really, it's all shouting.

"Cloudy Glen was winning off one of the bottom weights and he'd had a wind op since his last run, but we couldn't do a galloping scope because he's so quirky and wouldn't let the vet anywhere near him.

"We were hoping it might help, but he's always been a weird one, although he did a piece of work the other day and I thought, 'blimey, where did that come from? There's only one place you're going and that's Newbury!' I also have to give a lot of credit to Charlie, who gave him an outstanding ride."

Williams won the race, once known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, with Teeton Mill in 1998, when the 25-year-old Deutsch would have been in baby grows rather than some of the sport's best-known livery.

"It couldn't have gone any better," the jockey said. "His jumping was incredible. It's the best win of my career by far. Mr Hemmings has been a great supporter of the yard and I've ridden winners for him before, while he put so much into racing – this means a lot.

"It's wonderful, huge, one of the biggest races to win, but so hard to win, so it really is special."

Only four horses had mattered in the straight and it was soon three as Cloth Cap faded. Remastered then took a crashing fall at the fourth-last when holding every chance to leave Fiddlerontheroof chasing Cloudy Glen, Colin Tizzard's youngster making a valiant effort to haul back the deficit only for the post to come too soon. It was 28 lengths back to Willie Mullins' pair Brahma Bull and Ontheropes.

Eklat De Rire, who was sent off the 3-1 favourite for trainer Henry de Bromhead, was walked back by jockey Rachael Blackmore after being pulled up before the fifth-last.

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