For Pleasure produced a relentless front-running display to capture the G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle and provide trainer Alex Hales with one of the biggest successes of his career.
The five-year-old was sent off a 14/1 chance despite being the highest-rated of the six runners, having rattled off a hat-trick of wins at Stratford and Bangor over the summer.
Harry Bannister sent For Pleasure on from the outset and the pair soon established a 15-length lead over the field. Evens-favourite Third Time Lucki eroded the advantage turning in but For Pleasure found extra after the last to prevail by nearly four lengths.
Alex Hales said: “For Pleasure was the top-rated horse in the race and the real issue was the ground.
“He went to Kempton on a right-handed track and behaved abysmally. Left-handed is obviously the way he goes. For Pleasure has just improved and improved. There is no other way to ride him, you just have to let him go out like that, but I was very impressed that he maintained that gallop.
“For Pleasure is not straightforward and Harry has done a brilliant job with him. I think I would look silly if he went right-handed again, so I think he will go left-handed.
“It is great to win a G2 at Cheltenham. We have been training for over 20 years and that is only our second winner here.
“I think we will enjoy looking in the programme book and seeing where to go. We might give him a break. He has been on the go for a while and we might just get him ready to return in the spring. Somewhere like Aintree may suit.”
Harry Bannister said: “For Pleasure has his own way of doing it, so I don’t really do a huge amount. He is probably not the sort of type you would necessarily want to be going to this sort of track and conditions in. He is free and he is fast, he almost nicks them.
“Fair play to him today as those were conditions we know he’s not as effective on and when the favourite came to him he found more. He must have a big engine. Fair play to Alex and the staff at home, to Simon Gilmore who rides him every day.
“It is about trying to keep him straight more than anything else. Where he has been successful at Stratford, he has got the rail on the inside just to wing round and it is not so much of a hindrance to him. But he made a bit of an error [at the second last] today and it probably backed him off a bit and gave him a chance to catch his breath. He almost lugged towards the stand side up the straight, which was helpful from my point of view. It kept him in a straight line up the hill and he has done that really well.
“Sharper tracks we know he is better at. He demolished them at Stratford in a few starts. It is not his ideal conditions here and the track probably doesn’t really suit him, but the owner [Premier Plastering] has been brilliant with him and he’s always very optimistic with Alex. When he got beat the other day, he was very understanding, so it’s great to reward some of that faith with a nice winner here.”
3.35pm Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 87y
1 For Pleasure – Alex Hales 5-11-00 Harry Bannister 14/1
2 Third Time Lucki – Dan Skelton 5-11-00 Harry Skelton EvsF
3 Jungle Junction – Jessica Harrington IRE 5-11-00 Robbie Power 6/1
Distances: 3¾, 13
Tote win: £14.80 Places: £4.90 £1.20 Exacta: £32.70 CSF: £27.71 Trifecta: £134.50