Bustillo gets rid of errors to triumph
Tito Bustillo and Ramses de Marcigny provided trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh with more festive success at Taunton yesterday.
Bustillo (8-13 favourite) defied a double penalty in the toteswinger Novices' Hurdle. to continue the pair’s great run over the holiday period.
The French import has now lost only one of his four starts over hurdles and that was in Grade Two company at Cheltenham behind Loosen My Load.
Walsh always looked confident on the four-year-old and had too many guns for 33-1 chance Maggio, with Spirit Of Adjisa in third.
Walsh said of the length and three-quarters winner: “He did it really nicely, he jumped super.
“He made a few mistakes at Cheltenham but he has been turned inside out since then. He's a nice horse.
“I liked what he did last time, he beat a really nice horse of Alan King's (The Betchworth Kid) so I thought he'd win.”
Ramses de Marcigny opened his account with an easy win in division one of the Open National Hunt Flat Race, beating Shakalakaboomboom two and a half lengths.
Another trainer to have enjoyed an excellent Christmas is Nick Williams, who secured another winner as Ere Alfie cruised home in the Pam Lillycrop & Paul Marshall Memorial Novices' Handicap Chase.
Daryl Jacob did the steering, just as he had done for the two Grade One winners Williams had saddled over the last couple of days — Me Voici and Reve De Sivola.
A winner at Fontwell in early December, the 100-30 chance survived a bad blunder down the back straight and came home unchallenged, six lengths clear of Anay Turge.
Asturienne made it two from three over timber with a victory in the toteplacepot Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Alan King's five-year-old was noted travelling smoothly throughout in the hands of Robert Thornton and took up the running just before entering the home straight.
Chris Down's Dolly Penrose, a winner of her only start over hurdles previously, showed that was no fluke and emerged from the pack as the sole challenger, but was a length and three-quarters down on the 2-1 second-favourite at the line.
Mark Ball, representing the owners Let's Live Racing, said: “I walked the track before racing because we were worried that it was going to be really testing but it wasn't as bad as we thought.
“Choc (Thornton) kept her close to a slow pace and stuck to the rail and she has done it well.”