Elegant Escape wins the John Francome Novices' Chase

The G2 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase was run in honour of seven-time champion Jump jockey John Francome MBE for the first time in 2017 and saw Elegant Escape (Colin Tizzard/Harry Cobden, 5/1) make all the running to come out on top.


The complexion of the race changed when 7/4 favourite Fountains Windfall (Anthony Honeyball/Aidan Coleman) fell three fences from home and the winner was left to see off the challenge of Black Corton (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost, 9/4), staying on well to win by three-quarters of a length.


Successful trainer Colin Tizzard said: "Elegant Escape got a bit tight at the last but jumping is the game. It was unlucky that Fountains Windfall fell and we don't know what would have happened. Black Corton put it up to our horse and he outstayed him. It was a lovely performance.


"He is a lovely big horse and did look very well in the parade ring, which is usually the best place to have a look at them. We could have gone to Taunton but Newbury is a fantastic place to bring a young horse.


"He is a 140-rated horse and he is only a five-year-old - the rest were all six and seven - so he has got it all in front of him. He is a lovely young horse and we will keep racing, hoping that we can get him to the festivals in the spring. We can all hope that he is an RSA Chase horse - that would be his trip anyway. He could go for the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day next."


Tizzard also had an update on his stable star Thistlecrack, who disappointed when fifth in yesterday's G2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle. He continued: "Thistlecrack is fine this morning.


"You have to remember, he had two month's box rest, four months in the field, two months walking and a month each of cantering and galloping. I think it was excusable that he blew up yesterday."


Winning rider Harry Cobden added: "I watched a few of his races last night and it looked as though he just stays and gallops. He has jumped great today and seen them off really well in the end. I couldn't really see if Aidan Coleman was going well or not but my horse keeps finding - Black Corton came at him going to the last and he jumped the last well.


"He is a lovely, big, beautiful horse and I am sure that he has got a big future ahead of him. I am pretty sure that he won't be running off 137 again. At every fence, if there is a stride there and you ask him up, he comes to you. He is a pleasure to ride."


Trainer Paul Nicholls said of the runner-up: "Black Corton has run a really good race again. He needed a big one at the last but just missed and landed a bit flat before staying on. It was his eighth run of the season and he keeps progressing.


"He will probably go to Kempton on Boxing Day. There is a G2 at Doncaster in a couple of weeks, which always cuts up and is always on ground that he likes. You wouldn't not look at it in case there were three or four runners. We will have a look and see.


"One day, he will tell us that he has had enough but he keeps thriving and has astonished me how much he has improved since Worcester in May."