Dropped 6lb despite showing some promise on two runs over fences this winter, Tom George’s seven-year-old delivered as he opened his account over jumps in the TurfTV Handicap Chase
Paddy Brennan brought the 2-1 favourite to lead at the third-last fence and power away to score by seven lengths from Kerryhead Storm. Take The Crown was a further length and a quarter away third.
“He won it nicely and it worked out well for us,” said George.
“He won a bumper for us, never won over hurdles and picked up a small injury. His owners have been very patient and have been rewarded with a nice horse.
“I don’t think it was the world’s best race, but we’ll see what options we’ve got for him. A lot will depend on how the handicapper reacts to today’s win but he’s a nice horse for the future.”
Tony Star (8-1) got off the mark over fences at the 13th attempt in the Watch Racing UK Anywhere Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Philip Hobbs’ eight-year-old was ending a winless streak dating back to October 2012 as he outpointed Theatre Queen by three lengths under Richard Johnson.
Beltor (16-1) put up a promising performance on his debut over obstacles to win the Watch On 3 Devices Racing UK Juvenile Hurdle.
Noel Fehily brought the Robert Stephens-trained four-year-old to challenge at the final flight and lead half a furlong out to beat the 15-8 favourite Arabian Revolution by two and a half lengths.
Stephens said: “He will certainly be worth an entry for Cheltenham – whether we miss Cheltenham and wait for Aintree, we’ll see. He’s a progressive type and has been working better at home since the start of the year”
The well-backed One For The Guv’nor (4-6 favourite) landed the odds in some style in the Rincon Del Puerto ’National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle.
Despite pulling fairly hard early on for David Bass, Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old came home 10 lengths clear of Seven Nation Army.
Tony McCoy steered the Neil Mulholland-trained Ebony Empress (11-4 favourite) to a cosy victory over Forgivienna in the racinguk.com Handicap Hurdle, while Johnny Farrelly’s Ascendant (12-1) had no trouble defying top weight under Robert Hawker in the AJA Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle.
Meanwhile the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter has been pencilled in as a long-term target for Liam Burke’s Thyestes Chase runner-up My Murphy.
The nine-year-old looked booked for third place until The Job Is Right unseated his rider at the final fence, allowing My Murphy to come through and finish a nine-length second to the impressive Djakadam.
The winner is now bound for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but Burke is eyeing Uttoxeter’s prestigious handicap the following day for his charge.
He said: “He ran a cracker. He was probably lucky to be second, but that’s racing.
“The winner was only a second-season novice going against seasoned handicappers, but he was the class horse of the race.
“It’s difficult to know where we’ll go now. The obvious race is the National Trial in Punchestown, but that comes up on Sunday, which is too quick.
“The next suitable race for him is the Bobbyjo Chase in Fairyhouse in the middle of February. He probably won’t be good enough for that, but he’ll have to run somewhere.
“The race we’re looking at for him is the Midlands National in Uttoxeter. I think that’s probably the race to aim for as you usually get soft ground there.
“We’ll give him an entry in the National at Aintree, just in case the ground came up soft. He ran in the Irish National last year but the ground had gone for him.”