El Paso Wood successful in Somerset National at Wincanton

David Pipe received a timely boost ahead of a big weekend when El Paso Wood opened his account in Britain to provide the trainer with what he described as a “nice surprise” in the Somerset National Handicap Chase at Wincanton on Thursday. 

The Judith Wilson-owned eight year old made the most of the weight he was receiving all around from his seven rivals in the extended 3m 2f contest to run out a facile winner of the feature contest on the seven-race card.  

Racing just behind the pace which was set firstly by Captain Chaos and then Colorado Doc, the 17-2 chance swiftly took command of matters when pressing into a lead he would not surrender rounding the home turn. 

The gelded son of Anzillero, who unseated his rider on his British debut over the famous Grand National fences in the Unibet Becher Chase at Aintree last month, steadily drew clear to score by 34 lengths under conditional jockey Philip Armson. 

Pipe said: “That was a nice surprise. He ran well in the Sussex National and he has probably come on for that. We have not had him that long and it has just taken a while to get to know the horse. 

“As you know, they can take a bit of jumping around Wincanton and he was very good at his fences today. 

“I’m sure his owners are over the moon as they like trying to win these type of races.”

Winning rider Philip Armson, who has been based with Pipe since the summer, also came in for plenty of praise from the Grade One-winning trainer.

Pipe continued: “Philp gave him a great ride. He took seven pounds off with his claim and he was at the right end of the weights which helps in these races. 

“He had a double at Bangor a little while back and he rides well taking that seven pound claim off. 

“He works very hard in the yard and if you do that you will be given opportunities and he has been taking them.”

As for El Paso Wood, an outing in next month’s Virgin Bet Devon National Handicap Chase at Exeter (Friday 25th February) could be on the cards. 

Pipe added: “I’m sure we will look at those staying type of races and I’m sure the owner will have a runner in the race but as of yet I don’t know which one.

“I know he has won by a long way but I hope the handicapper doesn’t over react.”

The Wellington based handler will be hoping this success can be replicated by Remastered in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock Park on Saturday. 

He added: “Remastered ran very well at Haydock last time which was quite quickly after his fall at Newbury in the Ladbrokes Trophy. 

“We are hoping he will have come on for his last Haydock run. Conditions will suit and he will think he is running loose with the weight he has on his back.”

Gary Moore teamed up with his son Jamie for a 17-1 double on the card which was secured by a first victory over fences for Eragon Du Chanay, who made all to land the Follow @racingtv on Instagram Novices’ Handicap Chase (3m 1f) by a short head. 

The winning trainer said of the 17-2 chance: “He had run a very good race in the Sussex National and finished fifth when he probably didn’t quite stay the trip. 

“This was a great opportunity today as he had come so far down the handicap. He has gone out there and jumped for fun. 

“He got a bit tired going to the last but his early jumping has won him the race. I asked his owners to keep him this season and luckily they did.”

An end of season trip to Haydock Park for the Challenger Series finals day could be a long term target for Imphal (10-11 Favourite), who got the ball rolling for the Moores when prevailing by two and a quarter lengths in the Watch RacingTV With Free Trial Now Handicap Hurdle over an extended 3m. 

Gary Moore said: “He has been unlucky not to win five races this season. He always looked like being a promising horse and he ran some good races on the Flat. 

“I always thought he would be a 130 horse but he never really did it until his mark fell off the end of a page but his new owners are reaping the rewards. 

“The step up to these trips around three miles has made a massive difference. This was a qualifier for final of the Challenger Series but that is not until April so I think he might have a run on the Flat and then we will look at that.”