Precious Eleanor (9-4 Joint-Favourite) put a pre-race outburst at the start behind her when showing a good attitude to win the Listed British EBF Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase Final (2m 4f 127y) at Cheltenham this afternoon, much to the delight of a slightly red-faced Henry Daly.
The seven year old was nothing but focused once the starter had raised their flag, but she proved to be something of a nuisance during the preliminaries, lashing out and biting the Martin Keighley-trained Found On.
And while she showed little effects of that lack of anger management in the race itself – pulling clear at three out for a 15-length success under Richard Patrick - her trainer was quick to send his apologies to the Keighley team.
He said: “It’s awful and it was her, unfortunately she’s a cow. She’ll bite you walking in the stable at home and it’s just the way she is, but once you get going, she’s ok. Even when you go down with another horse, she spends all of her time trying to bite them and as soon as she gets to the bottom, she looks up and away you go.
“We just have to be careful, as she will aim and when she wants to kick one, she will do it. We’re just wary of it and accept it’s what she does but I’m very sorry to the Keighleys with Found On, especially as it was a chance to get some black type.
“Ellie has got her work cut out for lots of reasons as Precious Eleanor has also managed to tread on her boot and pull the whole sole off. She needs the farrier!
“If you watch her action you’d think she’d want wetter ground, but she does seem to prefer better ground. The last twice is what she’s had and she loves jumping and enjoys the game. Her next race will be a Listed contest at Market Rasen in October.”
The opening race was the Listed bearrene.com Mares' Novices' Hurdle over 2m 4f 56y, which saw Theatre Glory (4-9 Favourite) pick up a third straight success over hurdles with a facile six and a half-length victory under James Bowen for trainer Nicky Henderson.
The five year old is owned by a syndicate run by staff at Seven Barrows and Henderson was delighted with the mare’s first season at the yard.
He said: “It was a nice race for her to finish the year on, it’s got her black type and she’s had a very lucrative season mostly thanks to Kelso putting on a huge prize in the race she won last time. It was a question of whether this might have come a little bit too quick at the end of the year, so she’s quite useful.
“It’s rather fun because it’s a great team behind her. The syndicate was set up by Dave and Katie who are part of the Seven Barrows team and they’ve worked for us for over a decade. They’ve done very well and needless to say they want to ride her every day – so I’m not sure who’s training her!
“She’s leased but we have her for another year and she’s pretty progressive, we’re going to have to go up again in class but I think that’s the right trip for her.”
The third race was the Listed Catesby Estates PLC Mares' Handicap Hurdle, in which the David Pipe-trained Panic Attack (9-4 Favourite) picked up a first victory since December 2020 courtesy of a determined display up the hill.
While it’s been a long time between drinks for the daughter of Canford Cliffs she certainly didn’t lack a good attitude, knuckling down well up the hill to seal a half-length display in the hands of Tom Scudamore.
And Pipe revealed after the race that he would keep his options open with his charge. He said: “I thought it was going to be easier than that! I thought that was tailor made for her, though she didn’t finish quite as strongly as we’d hoped. She’s travelled sweetly and Tom has given her a great ride and she was brave jumping the last, so it was good.
“We bought her as a two miler but she’s probably going to end up as a three miler. She goes on this better ground and Bryan Drew is away on holiday at the moment, so we’ll discuss it with him and we’ll see.”