Brilliant O’Regan rules on Australia Day

DENIS O’REGAN performed miracles on Australia Day to the relief of favourite backers at Huntingdon yesterday.

The exuberant grey was sent off the 1-4 favourite for the Tom Jones Memorial HTJ Centre Ltd Novices’ Chase after the withdrawal of Megastar left him with a seemingly easy task against Hi Tide and Nosecondchance.

However, it looked all over for those who had invested heavily on the favourite when another enthusiastic leap appeared in vain when he slipped on landing with a circuit to go.

O’Regan did brilliantly though, somehow managing to stay on the horse who had completely lost his balance - sliding along the floor on his hind legs.

The duo recovered to win the race with ease and trainer Paul Webber said afterwards: “What horsemanship, who could stay on him like that and then for the horse to go and win the race.

“He’s a remarkable horse. The enthusiasm in him is what you'd like to bottle and hand out round the rest of the yard,” said Webber.

“All he wants to do is go 100mph and finish in front of everybody else. There are other ways of doing it, but that’s his way of doing it.

“We’ll look at the Henry VIII (Novices’ Chase) at Sandown but if the ground is like this or any worse then he’ll have his winter holiday and I would think he’ll either go to Aintree or Ayr (in the spring) and then to Punchestown.”

Meanwhile, Gary Moore intends to be double-handed with Via Galilei and Harry Tricker in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday. The pair were second and 12th behind fellow Greatwood possible Brampour at Ascot last month.

“Both horses worked well this morning and I am happy with the pair of them,” said the trainer.

Greatwood Handicap Hurdle:

Paddy Power bet: 6-1 Pateese, 7-1 Moon Dice, 9-1 Brampour, 10-1 Domtaline, 12-1 A Media Luz, 14-1 Kumbeshwar, Ultimate, 16-1 Third Intention, Sanctuaire, Jack Cool, Oldrik, Via Galilei, 20-1 bar.

Meanwhile, Nacarat could sidestep Haydock’s Betfair Chase on Saturday week for the Grand Sefton over the Grand National fences two weeks later.

Trainer Tom George is worried the ground at Haydock might not be suitable for the grey, who was fourth to Imperial Commander in the Betfair last season.

George is keen to give Nacarat another crack at the famous Aintree obstacles after the 10-year-old only got as far as the sixth fence in the Topham Chase in April 2008.

“We’re completely ground dependent on him and my gut feeling is the ground won’t be right for him at Haydock,” said George.

“There’s a strong possibility we’re going to run him in the Grand Sefton at Aintree instead.

“He has run over the National fences once before when Tony Dobbin rode him and there was a mishap.

“He always said to run him back over those fences as he loved it, so we might just do it or there’s a Listed race on the same day. We’ll run him in the King George after that.”

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