Beware The Bear helped owner George Barlow realise a lifelong ambition after providing him with his first winner at Cheltenham in the Join The Betbright Racing Club Handicap Chase.
More than 40 years after Bear’s Slipper was stripped of victory in the 1973 Foxhunter Chase, the 81-year-old finally enjoyed his moment of glory as the Nicky Henderson-trained 7-2 shot made virtually all to take the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile prize by five lengths.
Barlow said: “I had a permit for about 30 years and in 1973 Bear’s Slipper was demoted in the stewards’ room in the Foxhunter.
“They got very close together and the stewards decided the other chap should have won. Both John Oaksey and the trainer of (eventual winner) Bullock’s Horn said we had been robbed.
“It’s been an aim for ages and after being robbed all those years ago, it couldn’t be better to have a winner here on New Year’s Day.”
Venetia Williams has her team in flying form at present and 2017 Ryanair Chase third Aso moved a step closer to a return to the top level when keeping the bandwagon rolling with a two-length success in the Download The Betbright App Handicap Chase.
Williams said of the 3-1 winner: “It was only as a result of his Newbury run that we considered him a possible front runner.
“We never have in the past and you can see up the run in why that is the case, as he pricked his ears and eased up. It was a superb run giving practically a stone to everything.
“Obviously he is heading to the Festival and he might have a run at the end of the month back here. We will possibly consider (the Ascot Chase).
“There is the Ryanair, but there might be another option. It was very good for Charlie (Deutsch) and it was a smashing ride for him.”
Fergal O’Brien was quick to praise his partner Sally Randell in discovering Jarveys Plate after the six-year-old routed his rivals by 13 lengths in the Listed Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
He said: “Sally found this fellow on the Irish point-to-point website. We rang Derek O’Connor and he sorted out the in-between bits. We’ve loved him from day one.
“We were disappointed at Hereford and Paddy (Brennan) said it was all part of his education. We came here over two miles and I didn’t want to do that, but Paddy said to let him do his job and fair play to Paddy, he has done that really impressively today.
“I’m delighted for Chris (Coley) as this is where he really wants to have winners.”
All roads will lead to a second tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle for 2015 Coral Cup hero Aux Ptits Soins after the Dan Skelton-trained nine-year-old claimed a seven-length victory in the Simply Horse Racing Selections With Betfinder At Betbright Handicap Hurdle.
John Hales, winning owner, said: “This is his best performance since winning the Coral Cup. He has been a fragile horse and difficult to train.
“I am hoping I can convince the trainer to have a crack at the Stayers’ Hurdle. He has still got that class.”
Glory And Fortune made an instant impact on his racecourse debut when pulling clear to take the Listed National Hunt Flat contest by four and a half lengths.
Trainer Tom Lacey said of the 7-2 winner: “We are not going to over run him. It is all very well to think of the Festival, but when you have a horse like him, you have to look after them.
“He is a huge, big unit and it wouldn’t be a surprise if you don’t see him any more this season. What he had shown at home, he deserved to line up here.”