Classy chaser Bun Doran, who reached a BHA rating of 142 after winning at Newcastle two years ago, finally got back into the winner's enclosure today.
A strapping chaser and still only seven, he did a piece of work recently with his talented stablemate God's Own, and that gave Tom George and jockey Paddy Brennan some confidence ahead of today's run in the BetVictor Handicap Chase. Cruising into the lead before the home turn, Bun Doran (9/4 favourite) stayed on to land the spoils by eight lengths from runner-up Movie Legend (6/1).
Slad-based George said: "Paddy saw Bun Doran work with God's Own a couple of weeks ago. He was riding God's Own and this guy came past him, so he knew what was in store. Paddy was fairly confident today.
"Bun Doran was knocking on the door in some big races last season. He has strengthened up a bit over the summer and his work has been outstanding this time round. We thought there was big day in him and it has come.
"He is a brilliant jumper, but it has taken us quite a long time to work him out and to find out what sort of trip he wanted. I think we have him sorted now and two miles and really letting him use his stride and his jumping is probably the trick.
"He's an enormous horse, and a quick horse, too. He needs to improve again to go up from a handicap, but we're working him out and he's still young.
"God's Own is well too, and I'm just hoping the rain stays away a bit longer. I'm thinking of the Peterborough Chase [at Huntingdon] as a possible target."
1.50pm £45,000 BetVictor Handicap Chase 1m 7f 199y
1 Bun Doran (Crossed Fingers Partnership) Tom George 7-11-10 Paddy Brennan 9/4F
2 Movie Legend (The Movie Legend Partnership) Lucy Wadham 8-10-10 Leighton Aspell 6/1
3 Peppay Le Pugh (Hools & Forces Partnership) Dan Skelton 7-10-08 Harry Skelton 8/1
Distances: 8, 3¾
Tote Win: £3.00 Places: £1.90, £3.30 Exacta: £15.40
BUN DORAN PRODUCES DEVASTATING DISPLAY
Jockey Paddy Brennan completed a quick-fire 109.5/1 double following Bun Doran's clinical victory in the BetVictor Handicap Chase.
Trained by Tom George, the seven-year-old son of Shantou took the lead entering the home straight and produced two fine leaps in the closing stages to secure a comfortable eight-length success in the two-mile contest
A horse who has hinted at his untapped potential, Brennan was delighted that Bun Doran had produced such a scintillating display at Prestbury Par.
Bun Doran returned the well-backed 9/4 favourite, with 6/1 shot Movie Legend, trained by Lucy Wadham, back in second.
Brennan said: "Bun Doran has so much talent.
"I don't come into too many races thinking a horse is a certainty but this lad did a piece of work with God's Own earlier this year and I thought that, if I keep him between the wings today, he would win.
"He was very neat over his fences and that was a proper training performance.
"He has taken time, but he is still improving and the sky is the limit with him.
"It's a great training performance. Obviously, I have a long association with Tom and he has had the horse spot on, so it was brilliant. I really enjoyed it.
"I'll leave future plans for Tom, but I love the Haldon Gold Cup and this lad will win it one day."
WIND OP HELPS LEGEND TO SECOND PLACE
A recent wind operation may have helped the Lucy Wadham-trained Movie Legend to second place at odds of 6/1 in the two-mile BetVictor Handicap Chase. The Leighton Aspell-ridden eight-year-old was eight lengths behind the impressive winner, 9/4 favourite Bun Doran.
Newmarket-based Wadham said: "We're really thrilled with that. He jumped brilliantly apart from a little mistake at the third-last, and stayed on really well up the hill. He had a wind operation in August and it seems to have made all the difference.
"I think we will try and stay at the bigger tracks now where he can use his jumping, because his jumping is fantastic."
Third was 8/1 chance Peppay Le Pugh, trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by his brother Harry, three- and three-quarter lengths behind Movie Legend.
Harry Skelton said: "He's been on the go all summer and keeps paying his way. He's out of his class, really, but he's a little champion to keep picking up prize money."