Another win for Ptit Zig
Ptit Zig extended his unbeaten record over fences to four as he ran out an impressive winner of the Grade 2 BetBright Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
Despite doubts over his ability to stay the distance in the rain-softened ground, the six-year-old was sent off the 6-5 favourite to land the feature at Prestbury Park.
Sam Twiston-Davies opted to sit out wide aboard the market leader and he produced a solid round of jumping to give connections plenty of reasons to cheer.
Champagne West took it up with five fences remaining and Tom O’Brien attempted to inject some pace to test Ptit Zig’s stamina, but the favourite was right on his heels on the run to the second last.
Having safely negotiated the penultimate fence, Ptit Zig moved upsides the leader approaching the last and he then bounded up the famous hill to claim victory by six lengths.
Top Totti came home well to take second ahead of Ned Stark.
“The ground wouldn’t be as much to his liking as we would have hoped as it’s testing and holding, but he’s finished his race well,” the winning jockey said.
“It was quite a messy little race but he’s very professional. He jumped neatly and a little bit cautious at times, but as Paul said to me before we went out, we can get him better and when he comes to Cheltenham he can have a great chance.”
Trainer Paul Nicholls has confirmed his charge will not run in the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
“He wasn’t quite at his best today and Sam said he raced lazily. He wasn’t as fresh as he has been because this was his fourth run in a short time,” Nicholls added. “I wouldn’t normally have run him but I wanted to get some experience of Cheltenham into him. That’s in the bank now. Sam said he hit a flat spot going into two out but then he winged the final fence and took off from the back of it.
“He won’t run in the Arkle as that would be too sharp for him, and if we were to give him a second option it would be the RSA, but the two-and-a-half-miler is the right race for him.”