Best shows nerves of steel to win BetBright on Pilgrims Bay

Best holds nerve to win BetBright on Pilgrims By Peter Scargill 3:41PM 25 FEB 2017

Report: Kempton, Saturday

BetBright Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m, 5yo+

PILGRIMS BAY may go down as the cheekiest winner of the BetBright Chase with jockey James Best barely needing to pick up his whip as he guided the 25-1 shot to a narrow success.

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With the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, Best's performance on Pilgrims Bay evoked memories of Paul Carberry's infamous ride on Harchibald in the Champion Hurdle with the rider remaining motionless as those either side of him gave everything they had.

Fortunately for Best, Pilgrims Bay had much more under the bonnet when the button was hit after the final fence as he was pushed out with the minimum of fuss to score from Double Shuffle.

You would have hardly noticed Pilgrims Bay until the turn for home. The Neil Mulholland-trained seven-year-old sat out the back jumping assuredly before moving up to the heels of the leaders on the turn for home.

Those leaders were Theatre Guide, winner of the race last year, and Double Shuffle, who made a bad error at the third-last fence.

As Paddy Brennan on Theatre Guide and Adrian Heskin on Double Shuffle were pushing and shoving their mounts running down to two out, Best sat serenely on Pilgrims Bay as he moved up between them.

Best waited, we waited and Pilgrims Bay waited as the final fence approached – when would the key moment come? Unflustered, Best kicked his mount into gear over the last obstacle and the race was over.

More to follow. . .

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