A trip to Chepstow a week on Saturday is on the cards for Take The Stand after he jumped his
rival's into submission in the South West Racing Club Handicap Chase at Exeter on Thursday.
An early casualty in the Hennessy, Take the Stand jumped immaculately under Seamus Durack and was immediately clipped from 25-1 in to 14-1 by the sponsors for the Coral Welsh National.
He has 9st 13lb in the Chepstow marathon and if competing off that weight looks capable of taking a hand in a contest his Welsh trainer Peter Bowen has a personal ambition to win.
After this six lengths triumph from Over The Storm, Bowen said: “If he’d been beaten today he would never have been entitled to even be entered for the Hennessy.
“I was pleased that Arlas set a decent pace and if he’s OK he’ll definitely be going to Chepstow. He jumped left at a few of the fences and will be much happier going that way.”
Paul Nicholls saddled an odds-on shot for the three-mile Christine Loze Birthday Novices’ Chase in Master Florian but the grey came down at the last when level with eventual winner Belski, on whom Joe Tizzard was left to come home eight lengths to the good over Bak to Bill.
Belski is trained by the jockey’s father Colin, who said: “After five seconds I think he deserved that.”
Tizzard jnr went on to complete a 169-1 double when forcing the Ron Hodges-trained Goldbrook home by a head and half a length from Six Of One and Oracle Des Motes in the Henrieta Knight Birthday Handicap Hurdle.
The stewards inquired into interference near the line and though finding that Goldbrook had hampered the runner-up decided it was accidental and took no further action.
Oracle Des Motes travelled supremely well and looked sure to score but even though his rider lost his whip on the run-in it probably made no difference to this often frustrating customer.
There was a shock in the City Of Exeter Amateur Riders’ “Hands And Heels” Handicap Hurdle when 25-1 chance Orbicularis came home a length and three-quarters in front of Good Thyne Guy under late jockey booking Daryl Jacob.
It had been trainer Alison Thorpe’s intention to use Paula Hearn on her Doncaster sales purchase but the latter felt ill with a bout of flu and had to stand down.
Afterwards Mrs Thorpe said: “We walked the course when we arrived and unfortunately Paula felt worse. It was Chris Maude in the weighing room who suggested I use Daryl.”
The first division of the Get Best Prices At gg-odds.com Novices’ Hurdle went to Galant Eye and Sam Thomas, who had too many guns for Imperial Dream and beat that rival by a length and a quarter.
The winner’s part-owner Graham Brown is hoping this victory will act as a boost for trainer Rodney Baker, who is nursing a foot injury sustained in a fall.
The European Breeders Fund/Tattersalls (Ireland) Mares’ Only Novices’ Chase was made to look very one-sided by the 4-6 favourite to Tucacas once her stable-mate Miss Cool had exited at halfway.
Tony McCoy brought the grey home hard held to beat Ambience Lady by 13 lengths.
It is rare that Henrietta Knight leaves this track empty-handed and she waited until the concluding second division of the novices’ hurdle to post a 25-1 surprise with Melford, who finished strongly under Jim Culloty to forge a length and a quarter ahead on the flat with Ojays Alibi showing abundant promise in third.
The winner was giving Culloty a success on his 30th birthday.