Trainer Jedd O’Keeffe was “elated” to see stable star Sam Spinner make a winning debut over fences at Wetherby.
The seven-year-old enjoyed a tremendous campaign two seasons ago – landing a valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock and the Long Walk at Ascot before finishing fifth when favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was disappointing for much of last season, but proved his talent remains intact when posting a fine effort to fill the runner-up spot behind star stayer Paisley Park on his return to Prestbury Park in March.
Making his first appearance since finishing down the field at the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April, Sam Spinner was a 5-4 shot under regular partner Joe Colliver, with the Dan Skelton-trained Beakstown the marginal favourite at 10-11.
Despite not always convincing in the jumping department, Beakstown looked set to prevail after regaining the lead rounding the home turn – at which stage Sam Spinner was being ridden along in fourth and seemingly had plenty to do.
However, the further he went the better O’Keeffe’s charge looked and he powered clear on the run-in for a three-length win.
O’Keeffe was at Tattersalls in Newmarket, from where he said: “I haven’t spoken to Joe or my assistant yet, but my initial thought is I’m elated.
“It took him a while to warm up, but he showed he can do everything – he got in tight at some fences and made a nice shape at others. Hopefully he has a good chance of making the grade as a chaser.
“He finished strongly and we know he’s going to be better over a longer trip. I’m just so pleased he’s made a good start and it looks like he could be the complete chaser.”
Considering future targets, the trainer added: “I think we’ll probably stay up north for the time being.
“I think there’s another novice chase for him at Wetherby on November 1, but that might come too soon.
“We’ll get him home and make a plan.”
Paddy Power cut Sam Spinner to 16-1 from 25-1 for the RSA Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival – and Colliver is looking forward to seeing him step up in trip.
“We went a good gallop, but that suited him as we know he wants three miles really,” said the jockey.
“He got in tight to a few fences, but it did him the world of good and it will help him learn his job.
“It looks like he’s going to make it as a chaser and with a bit of luck he might be even better than he was over hurdles.
“Thanks to Jedd and the owners for keeping faith in me and to Sam Spinner, as you can’t do it without the horse.”