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  • Shotgun Success In Classic Chase

Betfred Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) 3m 5f

  • (5yo+, 3m 5f, Class 1, 15 runners)
  • Winner £34,170 2nd £12,822 3rd £6,420 4th £3,198 5th £1,608 6th £804
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 7m 33.80s
  • Off time: 15:35:09
  • Last Updated: January 11 2014, 17:23 GMT

Novice chaser Shotgun Paddy denied a host of experienced old hands led by the heroic Carruthers in a thrilling finish to the Betfred Classic Chase.

Shotgun Paddy sweeps past Carruthers to score
Shotgun Paddy sweeps past Carruthers to score

The Emma Lavelle-trained seven-year-old was having just his fourth start over fences in the £60,000 contest but soon got into a decent rhythm just behind the early pace under Leighton Aspell - completing a double after the Grade Two success of Deputy Dan in the previous contest.

Carruthers, making his first start of the season, was clearly enjoying himself in front and his energetic pace soon saw the 15-strong field thinning out with Hey Big Spender and Master Overseer pulled up before the runners had barely reached the halfway stage and others who tried to contest the pace, such as Noble Legend, also soon dropping out of contention.

Shotgun Paddy failed to jump with the same fluency as the leader, but nevertheless started to draw closer to him around the home turn and the veteran ultimately had no answer when the 9/1 winner swept past before the final fence.

He went on to score by six lengths, with Royale Knight staying on steadily to finish third the same distance away. Only seven horses completed the course.

Aspell told Channel 4 Racing: "He was very game. He gave me a lovely sight at every fence.

"From three out to the bend I didn't think I'd get past the leader, but when we got level he pricked his ears so I knew he had a little bit in reserve."

An emotional Barry Fenton, Lavelle's assistant and partner, said: "This is a tough game and the adrenalin that you feel - well, it must have got to me - and these owners (Axom) are such a great bunch of people.

"As I was saying to the lads, our only worry was going into handicap company but Leighton is a great rider. We had a lot of pressure on with three fancied horses today but Leighton was exceptional.

"This horse has been very quick at his fences from day one.

"Last year we couldn't get them healthy. One day in the middle of the season we had four winners from as many runners but then it went backwards.

"Let's see how he comes out of it (before deciding on targets). The main thing is that he has to have soft ground, and if you got that the National Hunt Chase is the way you would go."

Carruthers' trainer Mark Bradstock said: "It's just great to see him, an 11-year-old, still being very competitive in these top races. He doesn't lack any enthusiasm, he jumps for fun and puts them all to the sword.

"There's the race he won at Ffos Las last year and then there's the Bet365 Gold Cup. John (Bradstock's late father-in-law, Lord Oaksey) would have loved him to go to Sandown."

Sky Bet quote the winner at 10/1 for the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and stamina certainly doesn't look as if it will be an issue.

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