There was a sad postscript to Chasing Fire’s successful chasing debut at Uttoxeter as top-class hurdler I Like To Move It suffered a fatal injury.
A small but select field of three runners went to post for the Andy’s Man Club Novices’ Chase, with last season’s Greatwood Hurdle hero I Like To Move It the 4-5 favourite.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old, who finished sixth and fifth behind Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle respectively last season, attempted to make every yard of the running under the trainer’s son Sam.
He made a few jumping errors along the way, but was still in with every chance when suffering an injury on landing after jumping the final fence and he was swiftly pulled up by his rider.
Sam Twiston-Davies posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Incredibly sad to lose I Like To Move It today, what he meant to all of us at Grange Hill farm is near impossible to put into words. A horse with the kindest heart, always gave everything. So many great memories with him, you’ll be deeply missed. Thank you for everything.”
Chasing Fire was an 18-5 shot for Olly Murphy and Sean Bowen, having won his first three races over obstacles last term before finishing down the field in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Making his first appearance since finishing third at Prestbury Park in April, the six-year-old jumped to the lead at the last and saw off the challenge of Pembroke by a length.
Chasing Fire was completing a double on the card for Bowen, Murphy and owner Diana Whateley following the earlier success of Booster Bob in the second division of the maiden hurdle.
Bowen told Sky Sports Racing: “Unfortunately Sam came down in the end, but I was outjumping the whole way and that was the only thing that was keeping me in the race. Sam would gain five lengths on the flat and every time I jumped I’d be gaining it again.
“He’s one to look forward to. At the last he was very, very long and he was good to come up from me there and he was good and hardy from the back of the last.”
Bloodstock agent Aiden Murphy, the trainer’s father, said: “He’d been schooling immaculately at home, so that was the hope today. It’s just a shame with the Twiston-Davies horse as that does put a dampener on the race, but Chasing Fire is a nice horse.
“They were three nice horses, I think Dan (Skelton, trainer of Pembroke) thinks plenty of his, so hopefully the form will work out.”