Make Good coped with a step up in trip and class with aplomb as he sprinted clear in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Trained by John McConnell, who won the cross country event on Friday with Some Neck, Make Good had been running over two miles to date, but took the leap to three on this occasion on testing ground.
Danny Kirwan and Took The Lot set only a steady pace which meant all the runners still held a chance with half a mile to run.
However, low sun forced the omission the hurdle in the home straight and before they bypassed it, Make Good and Richard Johnson had shot clear.
The 12-1 shot beat Pats Fancy by seven lengths, with Ask A Honey Bee back in third to earn a 25-1 quote for the Albert Bartlett in March with Betfair.
“It was a bit of unknown about the trip, but he won over a mile and six furlongs on the Flat on heavy in October,” said Johnson.
“John said he was pretty sure he wanted at least two and a half. It just happens he has run over two so far over hurdles – he just said the three was a bit of an unknown.
“On this ground we were not going to go too quick, so at least it wasn’t a slog. He is a very tough, straightforward horse and he did it nicely.
“He jumped really well and I’m hoping (the last hurdle) didn’t make a difference either. He is a hardened handicapper really.
“He is only a novice over hurdles, but he has had 35 runs and he knows what he is doing. In these conditions, when you have a tough, strong horse, it is going to suit them.
“Some of the others, maybe in two years time, will be better than they are now, but he is in very good order at the moment.
“I suppose so (connections could work back from the Albert Bartlett), as the owners would love to come if possible.
“It’s the first time I’ve sat on him, but he is very uncomplicated and very straightforward and it is lovely to get a win on him today.”