Talk of many a Festival preview night, Imperial Aura rewarded all those who listened by winning the Listed Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase by three and a quarter lengths.
The new sponsors specialise in investments and financial planning, and those who invested in the 4/1 joint-favourite - with runner-up Galvin - saw their net-worth rise accordingly.
This always looked like the right race for Imperial Aura's after his runner-up finish in the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase on Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day [25 January], which in recent years has proved a reliable guide to the outcome of this race. Trainer Kim Bailey confirmed as much, saying: "That was the plan."
"Obviously, we came here very hopeful. It's a huge relief as the anticipation has been high - today was the goal for the whole season. I'm not stupid, I read the papers and I knew everybody was tipping him.
"He ran a blinder here last time, when we knew that he wasn't 100 per cent. The horse had a very good preparation. He's a syndicate horse and it's a dream come true.
"He jumped really well here last time. We started at Fakenham with basically a walkover and just needed to get experience. Luckily, when he came here last time there were enough runners and he could get in amongst other horses. He is just a really nice horse and looked fantastic today. All credit to the team - Matt, Lee and everybody else.
"He has always shown that he is a nice horse - he has won his bumper and his hurdle races. I made the decision to go chasing this season rather than hurdling and thank God I did now.
"This is why we do it. It's a struggle in life anyway and this is what you come here for. We are at Cheltenham and Cheltenham is the best. To be here and have a winner is the best as well."
When it was pointed out that local man Bailey must surely relish training winners at Cheltenham, he quipped: "Absolutely - it means we can get home quicker for a drink."
4.50pm Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed)
1 Imperial Aura (Imperial Racing Partnership) Kim Bailey 7-11-05 David Bass 4/1jf
2 Galvin (Ronnie Bartlett) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-04 Davy Russell 4/1jf
3 Hold The Note (Tim Radford) Mick Channon 6-11-07 Jonathan Burke 10/1
4 Whatmore (Strachan, Lewis, Gabb, Graham & Inkin) Henry Daly 8-11-00 Tom O'Brien 14/1
Distances: 3¼, 9, ½,
Tote Win: £4.70 Place: £1.70, £1.70, £2.30, £3.60 Exacta: £22.90
Kim Bailey - 5th winner at The Festival
David Bass - 3rd winner at The Festival
Aura delivers the goods in imperial fashion for Bass
David Bass recorded his third career victory at The Festival™ presented by Magners following the decisive three and a quarter-length victory of the well-supported 4/1 joint-favourite Imperial Aura in the £70,000 Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase.
Trained by Kim Bailey, Imperial Aura was always travelling powerful under Bass and registering a comfortable three and a quarter-length victory over the Gordon Elliott-trained Galvin (4/1 joint-favourite) in second.
Fourth on the stable's Vinndication earlier in the day, Bass was delighted to get on the scoresheet at the meeting in the colours of 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander. He said: "I had nice position on Imperial Aura.
"The Henderson horse has given me a lovely lead and I couldn't be happier as I know he stays well. He was brilliant today and, to be fair, we were confident that he would improve from Trials Day.
"The way he picked up, pinged the last two and ran to the line was impressive and he has improved. I was so gutted when he got beat here in January - I thought that he would win everywhere - but he has improved and it is a great team effort.
"It is a great bunch of owners and a great syndicate, a really good bunch of people. Lauren, who looks after the horse, absolutely loves him and adores the horse.
It's massive for the yard to have a Festival winner. We really thought that Vinndication would win - he ran a blinder but just got tired on the ground with top weight. There are big races for him later on.
"I have been lucky in that I have come here to ride really good horses. I know how hard it is to ride winners here, it is the hardest place. My strike rate here outside The Festival is poor and you just have to keep trying and coming back. It's so hard to get on the right one and I am incredibly lucky that I am able to come here and ride horses like that. There are far better jockeys than me who have ridden no Festival winners.
"Kim knew that he had a chance this year of training a Festival winner. He kept saying that this was the nicest bunch of horses he had for a long time.
"It shows how much it means to him and he has been here and done it. He has had success at the highest level here, which is hard to do, and he has managed to build a really good team at home. I feel really lucky to be part of that team."
Galvin and Note give a good account
There was no catching Imperial Aura in the Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase, but there was also much to like about the performances of the placed horses.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Galvin, who was sent off the 4/1 favourite with the winner, went down by three and a quarter lengths, but finished nine lengths ahead of third-placed Hold The Note (10/1). In fourth was Whatmore (14/1), a reserve who gained a place in the race yesterday, and ran well for Henry Daly's stable when missing third place by just half a length.
Davy Russell, who rode Galvin said: "You can't be happy finishing second, but he ran his race. The winner's a good horse," while Elliott said: "Second again. The horses are running well but we are hitting the cross-bar. It was a good run and we're very happy."
Mick Channon, better known as a trainer of Flat horses, but who invariably has one good enough to run at The Festival, said of Hold The Note: "We're delighted to have come to Cheltenham again and been competitive, and he's a lovely big horse with a big future. We now have to ask, what will happen to the racing world, and will Aintree be on [due to Coronavirus concerns]?
"We will go home and have a think, but today's ground was too gluey and Aintree would probably be a bit quicker, which would suit him. We're not making excuses, we got beat, but he is a lovely horse for next year and we are going to look after him."
Johnny Burke, who rode Hold The Note, said: "He ran a cracker, and on better ground he might have shown the turn of foot that he has. He's still a big, weak horse and one for next year and he should give us plenty of big days to come.
"He jumps great and while it was a bit rough turning in we had a good run round."