Honeyball delight as Tacenda shows nous at Fontwell

Anthony Honeyball insisted Tacenda’s extra experience over fences was key as she clinched the EBF Mares’ Beginners’ Chase at Fontwell on Friday.

The five-year-old cut out the running before holding off favourite Two Swallows up the hill to win the 2m 5f contest by two lengths.

It was an impressive display by the 10/1-shot, who was handled superbly by jockey Noel Fehily on her second start over fences.

Tacenda was third to Tagrita on her chase debut at Exeter last November. And Honeyball reckons that run was crucial as she locked horns with four debut-making rivals.

The Dorset trainer said: ‘She has only run in the one point-to-point. We bought her from there and ran her in a bumper and she ran well but was always flat out.

‘The race worked out quite well but we felt she needed an obstacle in her way because she does jump very well.

Tacenda and jockey Noel Fehily at Fontwell

Tacenda and jockey Noel Fehily at Fontwell

‘So we thought why not use the four-year-old allowance straight over fences. We had the one run, luckily, I suppose, didn’t win but she ran to a high level.

‘We came to Fontwell thinking she has no real experience compared to the others but she does have that chase experience, so we’ll use it.

‘She is an out-and-out galloper but she did show a little bit of boot turning in, which was nice, and her jumping really counted.

‘When you are jumping well and they are having to get to you and then maybe pecking on landing because they are a bit inexperienced, you are always turning the screw.

‘We used that chase experience. It was only the one run, along with the point, but she jumped so well that day we thought it would be enough to stretch them.

‘Her jumping held up really well. She maybe dossed a little bit when they left her alone but she naturally went a nice strong gallop.’

Honeyball and the mare’s Return Ta Senda owners are in no rush with their charge. But the Mosterton handler has a Listed contest at Newbury on his radar.

The three-mile Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Novice Chase takes place on Wednesday, December 20 at the Berkshire course.

He added: ‘We will use the mares’ chase programme. We are in a Listed race at Bangor next week but I think we need to be pleased with this and maybe give her three or four weeks off.

‘We were pleased to get this one in because if we didn’t go to Bangor, it would be December before you knew it.

‘Wherever there is a mares’ novice chase in three or four weeks, that will be where we go next. She is versatile, goes well on any ground, so that is no problem.

‘There is a race at Newbury over three miles, worth £25,000. I’d say if we can get one more run before then and if she goes well, we'll look at that.

‘She is probably harder on herself than you realise. It looks like she did that easy but she had to gallop all the way and never had any let-up.’

Fehily completed a quickfire double when he partnered Harry Fry’s 5/4-favourite Lady Of Lamanver to a six-length success in the Southern Cranes And Access Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Honeyball then sealed his own brace as 7/4-favourite Don Lami won the JEB Construction Ltd 'The Baron Of Holybourne' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race under David Noonan.