Cheltenham on Bridge agenda

Bishop’s Bridge could be set for a trip to Cheltenham after notching an impressive success at Huntingdon.

Bishop’s Bridge could be set for a trip to Cheltenham after notching an impressive success at Huntingdon.

The 6-4 favourite ran his rivals into the ground in the feature Edward Hanmer Memorial Handicap Chase, racing well clear of the field under Barry Fenton three fences out before keeping on to win by 14 lengths from Alrafid.

Trainer Emma Lavelle said: “He is a horse with a huge amount of class and won very well.

“He was still thinking about it a bit running to the line which means he is always going to be tricky. He is one you can never guarantee on.

“We will see how he comes out of this but there is a race at Cheltenham (a week on Saturday) which we will definitely have a think about.”

It was a red-letter day for owner Peter Luff as he enjoyed his first ever double thanks to the feats of Bureaucrat and Calusa Caldera.

Luff, who works within the construction industry, found himself thrust into the limelight when his horse West Tip won the Grand National back in 1986.

It was a much more low-key occasion at the Cambridgeshire track but a delighted Luff refused to let a blustery wind and driving rain dampen his spirits after his latest ownership achievement.

Wokingham-based Luff said: “I’ve owned horses for more than 30 years and this is fantastic. A win is a win, it doesn’t matter where we get one, we get just as excited.

“To have two here for my first double is lovely. I’m very grateful to Liam Norris, who buys all my horses including these two.”

Calusa Caldera set the brace in motion after a dramatic conclusion to the Bayer Cropscience 10 Year Novices’ hurdle, in which Lady Pilot hit the front before falling moments later after the second last.

Calusa Caldera had attempted to make every yard and was ridden when briefly headed by the subsequent faller, who appeared to still be travelling well.

But winning trainer Brendan Powell hinted that his 4-7 favourite would have fought to the bitter end even if Lady Pilot’s challenge hadn’t come to an unfortunate conclusion.

Powell said: “He is better getting a lead and is not a natural front runner. He is better dropped in but the one thing he will do is gallop.

“He has done all his schooling over fences. We will now find a beginners’ chase and will probably go three miles with him straight away. But he is still a frame of a horse.

“He could just be another West Tip – you never know!”

Luff followed up thanks to Bureaucrat’s length-and-three-quarter success over Kickahead in the EBF Handicap Hurdle.

Sir Haydn (evens favourite) went one better than his course and distance second eight days earlier when landing the Hi Sell Direct Maiden Hurdle under Graham Lee.

Trainer John Jenkins said: “He was in the sales and would have gone but he nicked himself here and his leg blew up. He’s won this well, although it might have been a little quick for the horse.”

Megaton was a 9-4 scorer for trainer Peter Bowen and jockey Tom O’Brien in the Provincial Design Services Beginners’ Chase, while the huntingdon-racecourse.co.uk Standard Open bumper went the way of Sunnyhillboy (4-5 favourite), who won as he pleased by 12 lengths from Shampers.

Irish raider Fakima took the Racing Post ’Hands And Heels’ Jump Series Handicap Hurdle, triumphing in the hands of amateur Colin McNally, having his first ride in England.

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