/ Racing

Roque crowned champion at Down Royal

Updated: Saturday, 05 Nov 2011 15:43

Davy Russell salutes the crowd after steering Quito De La Roque to victory in the Champion Chase at Down Royal
Davy Russell salutes the crowd after steering Quito De La Roque to victory in the Champion Chase at Down Royal

Quito De La Roque demonstrated his admirable reserves of stamina as he swooped in the shadow of the post to land the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Colm Murphy's charge looked certain to be an also-ran as Davy Russell was sending out the distress signals some way from home in the three-mile heat.

However, the 11-4 favourite stayed on best of all after the last to edge out Sizing Europe in the dying strides.

British raider Midnight Chase took up his usual prominent position in the early exchanges but Andrew Lynch was keen to sit on his heels aboard Sizing Europe.

With Midnight Chase setting just an average pace up front, Lynch took control before the ninth fence, letting the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner pull his way to the front.

The gallop picked up a notch from there as Russell looked to be struggling to keep Quito De La Roque in the hunt and he started to drop away.

That left Paul Nicholls' The Nightingale to throw down the main challenge to Sizing Europe, with Paul Carberry aboard after intended rider Noel Fehily was unable to make the trip due to the weather.

Carberry looked to have claimed the advantage at the second-last as Sizing Europe made a bad mistake and Midnight Chase came to grief.

Lynch's mount got back on an even keel though and was in control again jumping the last, but Quito De La Roque was making huge strides in behind.

Responding to Russell's every urging, he jumped the last and powered through the testing ground to catch Sizing Europe and eventually prevailed by a comfortable length and a quarter.

Powered by NewsWhip