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Foundation Developments Ltd Handicap Chase 3m 2f 110y

  • (5yo+, 3m 2f 110y, Class 2, 13 runners)
  • Winner £12,512 2nd £3,696 3rd £1,848 4th £924 5th £462 6th £232
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 7m 21.90s
  • Off time: 12:46:32
  • Last Updated: January 1 2014, 18:48 GMT

Harry Fry matched his rookie season tally of 20 when Mendip Express sluiced through the conditions to post a five-length defeat of Alfie Spinner in the Foundation Developments Ltd Handicap Chase.

Mendip Express clears away at Cheltenham
Mendip Express clears away at Cheltenham

His first Cheltenham winner "in my own right" [he was credited with much of the training of 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby], Fry has the Festival in his sights but is uncertain whether it will be the four-mile National Hunt Chase or the RSA Chase for the Will Biddick-ridden 7/1 shot.

The Seaborough trainer said: "He travelled into the race well and did it nicely.

"We came here to find out where we should go for the rest of the season. It was plenty soft enough and he did make a couple of mistakes.

  • It was wet and windy at Cheltenham for racegoers...
  • ...and conditions were particularly testing for the horses
  • Aubusson provided a shock in the opener...
  • ...to the delight of his rider, Lizzie Kelly
  • Sam Twiston-Davies shows just how much mud was flying at headquarters...
  • ...as Mendip Express continued to impress under Will Biddick.
  • Oscar Whisky and Taquin Du Seuil renewed rivalries in the Dipper Chase...
  • ...but Oscar Whisky powered up the hill to take victory.
  • Return Spring (left) got the better of a tenacious battle with Quartz De Thaix (right)
  • Pickamus and Cedre Bleu chase Double Ross in the Fairlawne Handicap...
  • ...and Double Ross lands a second Cheltenham contest inside 18 days.
  • Zarkandar and Annie Power fought out the Dornan Engineering Hurdle...
  • ...but Ruby Walsh was all smiles as the mare retained her unbeaten record.
  • The clean silks tell the story. Modus truly dotted up in the finale.
All the best images from New Year's Day at Cheltenham.

"It was either coming here or Warwick on Saturday week, but he would have had to give weight to some smart novices had we done that.

"As to the Festival, I would fully expect Will to press for a run in the amateurs' race here in March while Noel Fehily will be saying we should take the novice route and go for the RSA, although there is the JLT Specialty Chase too."

Mendip Express is owned by the Mendip Syndicate of whom Paul Barber has a share.

Owing to standing water on the course, fences five, six, eight, 14 and 15 were omitted from this race, meaning that only 13 of the 22 intended obstacles were jumped.

Sky Bet installed the winner at 7/1 in their betting for the National Hunt Chase.

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