Regal Encore does it again
Regal Encore put some disappointing runs behind him to come with a well-timed challenge in the Lavazza Jolie Silver Cup at Ascot.
Regal Encore and Barry Geraghty return after winning the Lavazza Jolie Silver Cup Handicap Steeple Chase
Anthony Honeyball's talented but inconsistent eight-year-old had failed to complete on his last two starts (and had pulled up on five of his last six) but connections had stressed beforehand that there were excuses for both runs.
Those who listened were rewarded at odds of 20/1 as Barry Geraghty's mount flew home in the straight to collar Minella Dandy in the final half a furlong.
The runner-up had struck for home after mastering Tenor Nivernais in the straight and appeared as though he may have enough in hand with Another Hero struggling to close the gap.
However, he was hampered by a loose horse at the final fence and a slow jump cost him crucial momentum and he had no answer to the late surge of Regal Encore who swept past to win by a length and a half.
Geraghty and winning owner JP McManus were completing a big-race double following the victory of Unowhatimeanharry in the JLT Long Walk Hurdle.
"He hasn't been straightforward," said Geraghty.
"He's been hard to settle and his jumping has been hit and miss. He's let us down a few days, but he got it all together this time."
Honeyball said: "I'm just pleased to get a big win under his belt.
"Since he was second in the Champion Bumper (2013), he's done plenty of good things and been thereabouts in some Graded events, but we feel like this is the one we've been waiting to get with him.
"In the Hennessy (Gold Cup) he wasn't quite right behind going down the back, but he travelled and jumped like a horse that belonged in that company.
"At Cheltenham he nearly got brought down twice, so he got a bit of bad luck there.
"Before that he was second at Punchestown and the latest 'pulled-ups' weren't really a true reflection of him."