Chac outbattles Catterick rivals
Chris Bealby was left dreaming of Aintree after Chac Du Cadran (11/2) galloped his rivals into submission in the North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase at Catterick.
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While the seven-year-old would need to continue his sharp progression to get into the big race in April, the way he jumped and galloped his way to victory suggested he may be a horse for the future for similar marathon contests.
Tom Messenger booted his mount into nearly every fence and each time he responded, seeing off Pentiffic and then Night In Milan to come home in isolation, winning by eight lengths from the staying-on Desperate Dex.
Bealby hopes the win will help raise the profile of his yard.
"He's a very under-rated jockey, he gave it an amazing ride and kicked him into every fence," Bealby told Racing UK.
"He's a lazy horse which is why he's wearing cheekpieces and I've got half a mind to even put blinkers on next time so he's not as hard a ride.
"He'd run well over three miles so we took a step in the deep end and thought we'd see what happened if we stepped him right up in trip and he just outstayed them.
"Where we go next I'm not quite sure, it depends what the handicapper does - he might get into an Eider Chase or something like that.
"I think he'll want a bit of a break now. He had a fairly hard race at Towcester in December and that today.
"It's a great thrill for a small yard like ours. He deserves it because however lazy he is, he keeps going and responds to you.
"He out-galloped some quite useful horses today.
"It's only his fourth ever chase, let's not forget that, and he jumped like a seasoned handicapper.
"I suspect he'll go up 10lb at least but I still think he'll be competitive as the further he goes the better - four miles will be no problem.
"The ultimate dream would be Aintree but we've got to go up another 20-25lb to even get in. That's a pipe dream but that's what racing is all about.
"He's our fifth winner of the season. We've got some nice young horses but, being honest, it has been a struggle in the recession. I haven't bought a horse for 18 months because I don't have anyone to buy them.
"Something like this will hopefully raise our profile. For a horse rated 115 to win a 20 grand race is great, so all credit to Catterick."
Keith Reveley's Brave Spartacus (2/5f) looks a nice prospect and took his tally to three from six over fences in the W.L. And Hector Christie Memorial Trophy (Novices' Handicap Chase).
"I've said before that if he learns to settle and breathe, he'll be some operator," said Reveley, fresh from a double at Doncaster on Wednesday.
"What I liked today was at the last three fences, he actually pricked his lugs and looked at them instead of going in blind so we're definitely on the right track.
"He's still a novice so we'll just weigh up the options and see, but on decent ground he'll be even better."
Ian Popham was returning to the saddle after a lengthy lay-off and won the concluding bumper on Johnny Og (11/4).
Having broken his pelvis twice in quick succession, Popham and his boss Martin Keighley, who trained the winner, will be hoping he stays injury-free for a while this time.
The catterickbridge.co.uk Novices' Hurdle saw a former Group-race winner in Sea Lord and a smart handicapper in Life And Soul make their debuts over timber but both were put in the shade by Micky Hammond's Only Orsenfoolsies (11/2).
Joe Colliver made stealthy headway aboard the winner and the two apparent class acts were unable to go with the winner.
Sue Smith's Vintage Star (4/6f) opened his account over fences under Ryan Mania in the Follow Us On Twitter @CatterickRaces Novices' Chase while Miss Conduct (5/1) turned over the 1/6 favourite Cockney Sparrow in the opening yorkshire-outdoors.co.uk Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle.