Chris Bealby is dreaming of Aintree after Chac Du Cadran (11-2) galloped his rivals into submission in the North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase at Catterick.
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 in 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,” said Bealby. “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 then this.”
Keith Reveley’s Brave Spartacus (2-5 favourite) looks a nice prospect and took his tally to three from six over fences in the WL And Hector Christie Memorial Trophy (Novices’ Handicap Chase).
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 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).
Sue Smith’s Vintage Star (4-6 favourite) 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.