The Young Master continued his recent revival with a game front-running success in the Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
After making a winning return to action at Chepstow, the nine-year-old backed it up with a tenacious display that saw him pull out plenty to deny Station Master by eight lengths under Sam Waley-Cohen.
Winning trainer Neil Mulholland said of the 9-2 chance: “It was great. He had got the course form as he has been round here before, and the form of his last win had worked out well.
“He is a very genuine horse. He is still only nine – people think he is a lot older, as he has been around a long time.
“He was very game and gutsy and seems to have come back to form. The nicer the ground, the better for him. We will leave him in the Ladbrokes Trophy (at Newbury on December 1) and speak to the owners and see how he is.
“The plan was to try to win a couple of races early, then give him a break and come back for the Scottish National and Bet365 (Gold Cup, at Sandown).”
Part-owner Robert Waley-Cohen, the outgoing chairman of the course, added: “I’m very happy. Sam said when he rode him at Chepstow he felt a completely different horse to previous years.”
There was a sad postscript to the race, with Cheltenham announcing the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Jameson had been fatally injured in a fall two out, when still holding every chance.
Fergal O’Brien’s Red Hot Chilly left a lacklustre effort at Wincanton behind when bouncing back to winning ways with a 33-1 triumph in the Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
Putting daylight between himself and his rivals rounding the home turn, the five-year-old repelled the late challenge of bottom weight My Brother by a length and a quarter, foiling a quick double for Mulholland.
O’Brien said: “Obviously it is a surprise. We are delighted, though, as he has been very consistent all summer and he was pretty race fit.
“Paddy (Brennan) always maintained that a good-run two-mile race would suit him and he proved it round there. We were not sure about the ground, as it was a bit dead, but he did it so well.
“The idea was this would be his last run and he would go away where we send horses for pre-training, before coming back novice chasing next spring and summer.
“It’s lovely having another winner here, especially as they (owners) have persevered with this fellow for a long time.”
Bun Doran (9-4 favourite) gained an overdue success when getting his head in front for the first time in almost two years in the BetVictor Handicap Chase.
Having finished in the frame in three of his four starts last season, the Tom George-trained seven-year-old hit the target on his return when running out an eight-length winner of the two-mile contest, to complete a quickfire double for Brennan.
George said of the 9-4 winner: “It’s been a while coming. He had been knocking on the door in some big races last year and he has strengthened up over the summer.
“We thought there was a big day in him, and it’s come. It’s taken a long time to work out what trip he wants, but two miles let’s him use his stride and his jumping and that is probably his trip.
“We took them (Bun Doran and God’s Own) away a couple of weeks ago. He did a strong bit of work that day, so Paddy was pretty confident.
“He is a young, improving horse. We have just got to work out where we go now. “