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Press Release 13th November 2022 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark and Nick Seddon

Does He Know (6-1) landed the Jewson Handicap Chase at Cheltenham today, although successful trainer Kim Bailey admitted afterwards that the extended three miles and three furlongs Premier Handicap had not been the initial plan.

The seven year old Alkaased gelding was burdened with top-weight of 12 stone but that proved no issue as he was delivered perfectly at the last by jockey David Bass to go on and win by a length and three-quarters from Eva’s Oskar

Kim Bailey said: “I thought 12 stone was enough to stop any horse as he is not very big. We weren’t planning on coming here as we were meant to be going to Sandown last weekend. This was very much a full back as we had nowhere else to go. Nigel’s horse (Fantastikas) we had to give 6lbs to last weekend but 10lbs to today so we were wrong at the weights.

“I thought he was amazing. He has taken a huge step forward from what he has done before. It was his second time in his handicap and I’m absolutely thrilled. A lot of work with Laura Collet has been done with him as after he fell he completely lost his confidence. We came here today to let him enjoy himself and drop him in and let him relax and start enjoying his jumping. You could see when David got his confidence on him he started firing him into every fence possible.

“He is a tough individual and he has got no right to be a racehorse. He has got no pedigree. I got brought him here and he is a Yorkshire point-point horse. It is great for English point-to-pointing. He has run here several times and has always run good.

“The Grand National is not what it was and I’ve got a lot of owners who might not think it is a good idea but we will have to see how we get on with them. It is brilliant for them though.

“He is very diverse as he won on heavy ground at Ascot last year. Aye Right simply jumped right and knocked him over at Kelso and they clashed in mid-air. I think I’ve had five horses go there and they have all come down at the first! If he had got around at Kelso he wouldn’t have been here. It is all fate and I’m a great believer in that.”

David Bass added: “He is not a Grand National horse but he is a good horse. He has got a lot of quirks but he is a good horse and that was a good performance off top weight.

“I just wanted to give him loads of room over the first few as he got jumped into at Kelso and I thought I needed to get him some confidence over the first four. He jumped them fine and I was always happy after that. His class just meant he could travel away behind the leaders in his comfort zone.

“The horse has surprised us the whole way through and I never thought he would be winning handicaps off 152. We like those ones that keep surprising us.”

Tim Vaughan, trainer of runner-up Eva's Oskar, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. All of his form is on Soft or Heavy ground and we took a chance today with the extended trip. We hoped it would play out in our favour and he’s jumped and travelled so well so I’m very proud of him.

“It was a lovely run and while it’s a shame we couldn’t quite get our noses in front, there was nothing more we could have asked from him.

“We’ll probably consider the likes of the Welsh National – which was on the agenda last year – and we did think about the Cross Country race here as well. They’re two options at the moment but I think something like an Eider Chase would be right up his street, just something ever so slightly below that level of the Welsh National.

“If we can get him up to his eyes in muck and over as far a trip as possible, that would be perfect!”

Martin Keighley, trainer of third-placed Back On The Lash, said: “I’m thrilled with that, he jumped fantastically well. It’s just a shame that the Cross Country race couldn’t go ahead on Friday, because that was his main aim and this wasn’t the plan. In this kind of form we’ll freshen him up for the Cross Country race in December.”



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