DOITFORTHEVILLAGE GETS HIS GROUND
Doitforthevillage gave trainer Paul Henderson a second consecutive win in the BetVictor Handicap Chase, following Un Beau Roman's 2016 success.
The eight-year-old Doitforthevillage drew clear coming to the final fence and kept on doggedly up the hill under Paddy Brennan to win by two lengths from Kapstadt at odds of 13/2.
Henderson said: "When we came here last time [for The Showcase Meeting], he was sixth and Paddy [Brennan] said that the ground was too quick for him - he just couldn't cope with the jumping at that speed - but today he said 'it's just right, Paul, just right' - he was quite bullish. He's always said there's a nice race in this horse.
"He's a good, strong horse. Last year he won five races and we've always liked him, he just needs the right ground. He looks like a three-mile chaser and that's what we bought him as; he'd won a point-to-point and been third in a winners-of-one, and we ran him over three miles, but he's clearly a two-miler.
"I think he might get two and a half miles, if we hold him up - he travelled well throughout the race."
Henderson indicated that he might aim Doitforthevillage at the £120,000 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at The International Meeting on December 16.
VILLAGE DOES IT FOR BRENNAN
Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Paddy Brennan returned to the winner's enclosure at Prestbury Park thanks to 13/2 shot Doittforthevillage's BetVictor Handicap Chase victory.
Always travelling nicely for Brennan, the eight-year-old son of Turtle Island kept on tenaciously after the final fence to repel the challenge of Ian Williams' Kapstadt (10/3) to score by two lengths, with a further length and a half back to Phil Middleton's Exitas (3/1 favourite) in third.
Trainer Paul Henderson was successful in this race last year with stable companion Un Beau Roman, fifth in this year's renewal and Brennan was delighted to have been a part of the success.
He said: "I felt a bit of pressure coming into today as I thought he had a good chance and so it proved.
"The ground is definitely soft - there is no good in it, so I knew he would love it and thought he would win.
"Doitforthevillage just needs to chill out at times but when he does, he is very good.
"Cheltenham is a special place and you look in here and there are so many memories. I just love to see people enjoying the racing no matter what meeting it is. It is a place I will never forget when I finish riding.
1.50pm BetVictor Handicap Chase
1 DOITFORTHEVILLAGE (The Rockbourne Partnership) Paul Henderson 8-11-04 Paddy Brennan 13/2
2 Kapstadt (Anchor Men) Ian Williams 7-10-10 Will Kennedy 100/30
3 Exitas (Phil Middleton) Phil Middleton 9-10-09 James Bowen (7) 3/1 Fav
Distances: 2, 1½
Tote Win: £7.10 Places: £1.90; £1.70; £1.60 Exacta: £30.90
WILLIAMS DELIGHTED WITH KAPSTADT
Trainer Ian Williams was full of praise for Kapstadt after the 100/30 shot finished the two length runner-up behind Doitforthevillage in the BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon.
The seven-year-old was having only his third run over fences this afternoon but belied his inexperience to produce another creditable performance and his trainer thought that the softer ground had gone against him during the race.
"He's just an amazing horse," said Williams.
"In his defence, he's not been suited by the ground today. They're calling it good to soft and it's far most testing than that. It certainly doesn't suit what I'd refer to as an ex-Flat horse or a Flat performer on decent ground.
"If it was wetter, it would have been better I'd imagine if that makes sense. I can't see it getting better over the next few days as it isn't going to dry out in this weather.
"He's a great horse. This year, he's won at Newmarket and, although he hasn't won over fences yet, he's been placed in a Summer Plate (at Market Rasen) and has run another big race to finish second here.
"He's run brilliantly round Cheltenham and I'm delighted with him."
Exitas finished a further length and a half behind Kapstadt in third and his jockey, James Bowen, was another who thought the ground was too soft for his horse.
"He ran well," said Bowen.
"It's softer ground than it was when he won at Ascot and I don't think that's really suited him. He has made a few mistakes this afternoon and he doesn't do that when he bounces off the ground. We've only been beaten a couple of lengths and, if we hadn't gone up 10lb after Ascot, you'd said he would have won. He's run well though."