A frustrating day ended on a positive note for trainer Gary Moore when Dell Oro opened his account over fences in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Chase at Huntingdon.
After his first six runners failed to make it to the Cambridgeshire track on time following a lorry fire around 10 miles away on the A14, leading to its closure, the Lower Beeding handler enjoyed a deserved change of luck thanks to the two-and-three-quarter-length victory secured by the six-year-old.
Moore said: “I’ve never had anything like this before. They left my place at at 7.30am this morning. The lads rang us about 10.30am and they were literally 10 miles away at the front of the queue and were not allowed to turn round.
“All my owners are here to see their horses. It’s no one’s fault.”
He added: “It is especially disappointing for Beat The Judge. It was the right race for him. If he doesn’t get three runs he doesn’t qualify for any handicap at Cheltenham, whether he is good enough to go there or not.
“The weather you can account for, but you can’t account for a lorry fire.”
On the 13-8 winner, who was introduced at 20-1 for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival by Paddy Power, Moore said: “He has got a very good mind, which is important given what he has gone through.
“They like the winner of his race at Kempton (Glen Forsa) the other day. He probably would have been second, but he walked through the last.
“We would definitely look at the Close Brothers and he is owned by the same people that own Larry and he would be another one for that.”
Prabeni may not have been a stable star for William Haggas on the Flat but he enhanced his reputation as a favourite at the yard of Charlie Mann with a two-and-a-half-length victory in the feature Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle.
Mann said of the 7-4 scorer: “He is a smashing little horse. He jumped very big at Kempton, but for that he would have been a lot closer.
“He is as hard as nails and makes everyone laugh at home as he mucks about the whole time. He has been a bit of a favourite of ours as he has been a right character.
“He wants a stiffer track as he will stay further. We might go to the Triumph Hurdle trial on (Cheltenham) trials day. He might be a horse for the Fred Winter.”
Having surpassed his previous best seasonal tally at Leicester on Thursday, jockey Harry Skelton put another winner on the board after Etamine Du Cochet, trained by his brother, Dan, claimed the Weatherbys General Stud Book Mares’ Maiden Hurdle as the 15-8 favourite.
Skelton said: “I’m having a fantastic season and things are going very well. Reaching my best total happened quicker than I expected, but that was down to the summer. I just want to stay in one piece now and ride as many winners as I can.”
Assistant trainer Tom Messenger added of the 15-8 favourite: “She only ran once as a juvenile, but that turned out to be very good form as it was behind We Have A Dream.
“She ran well at Ffos Las, then bumped into one at Hereford and pulled up lame at Ludlow and there was no reason why. On her good form she is not badly handicapped.”