Getting the best out of horses in the twilight of their careers is a craft Charlie Longsdon is a master of, as Loose Chips highlighted in the 188Bet Pete The Feat Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown.
With two victories at the Esher course to his name, the 12-year-old added a third on his 50th start under rules when making all in the three- mile contest named in honour of his stablemate, defeating Rock Gone by 11 lengths to claim his first win in more than 18 months.
Longsdon said of the 7-1 winner: “He had the benefit of a run under his belt and that made the difference to be brutally honest. When he comes round here he lights up. He goes a searching gallop and doesn’t want to go out on the second circuit.
“He didn’t have a great season last year and he has come down in the weights, which has probably helped his cause. All roads will lead to the final (back at Sandown).”
Pete The Feat finished well-held back in seventh and the Chipping Norton handler praised the efforts of the 14-year-old.
He added: “Pete The Feat was a bit keen early doors and Johnny (Burke) said he just blew up jumping the Pond Fence and that he got a bit tired. I know the owners are pleased as punch to have a race named after him and to have the horse running in it.”
A Grade One outing could be on the cards for Eldorado Allen (4-1) after he formed the opening leg of an across-the-card five-timer for trainer Colin Tizzard when brushing aside his rivals by four and a half lengths in the 188Bet Mobile Maiden Hurdle.
The four-year-old was the first of two winners at the track for the Milborne Port handler and part-owner John Romans, with the pair also claiming the feature 188Bet Future Stars Chase with Elegant Escape.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, said: “He was a pleasure to watch today. He is right up there with the best of our novice hurdlers and we’ve always thought that with him. After that sort of performance he has to be.
“I think it would be ideal to give him one more run, then aim him at the Tolworth as he seemed to handle the track today.”
Teenage rider Niall Houlihan enjoyed a day to remember, making his first ride in Britain a winning one when steering the Gary Moore-trained Eragon De Chanay (8-1) to glory conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.
The 18-year-old said: “It was my first ride here and my first ride in England, and I’m delighted to get a winner for the boss. I only got my licence here on Friday.”
On the winner, he added: “He likes it round Sandown and loves heavy ground. When I heard the rain came, I was very happy.”
Members of The Rumble Racing Club were likely to stop for a few drinks en route to Carlisle ahead of watching their flag-bearer Chesterfield in action on Monday, after The Raven’s Return (9-1) claimed the bumper by five lengths.
Winning trainer Seamus Mullins said: “He is as nicer bumper horse that we’ve had in the last four or five years.
“They are a lucky bunch of lads and they are all going up to Carlisle to watch Chesterfield run. You don’t mind the journey when you are watching a good horse.”