Cheltenham: Win for O O Seven as Barters Hill pulled up

O O Seven skips away from his rivals at Cheltenham

PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) Victory for O O Seven
as Barters Hill pulled up By Jon Lees 2:16PM 11 NOV 2016

Report: Cheltenham, Friday

Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase 2m4½f, 4yo+

O O SEVEN made an impressive start to his chasing career with a clearcut succes in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices Chase in which favourite Barters Hill was pulled up.

Barters Hill, beaten only once in eight starts previously, was pulled up in front of the stands with a circuit still to run by his jockey David Bass concerned something had gone wrong.

Following assessment, Barters Hill was found to have slipped a tendon off a hind hock. The injury is not thought to be career-threathening but will require time off the course.

Pauling said: "It's not career-ending but he'll require a certain amount of time off. Whether he'll be back this season all depends on how severe it is, but with a horse like Barters Hill patience is everything.

"He doesn't deserve it and it's a terribly sad day but we still have him. Let's hope it's only a stumbling block."

He added: "He was wanting to rejoin the race and wasn't crippled lame but it's like a bit of a hole in a tendon is a hole in a tendon. He'll return racing but he'll definitely want three miles not two and a half as they lose a bit of speed."

How it unfolded

His exit left the Its'afreebee to take up the front-running duties, pressed by Sizing Tennessee, but once the Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven jumped into the lead the race was over.

He pulled well clear of his rivals despite giving connections a couple of scares when nodding on landing over the second last and then wandering across the course towards the stands on the run-in, finishing ten lengths clear of Sizing Tennessee.

Winning jockey Nico de Boinville's first thoughts were for Bass and Barters Hill's trainer Ben Pauling, who he also rides for.

"Something has clearly gone badly wrong," he said on Channel 4 Racing. "I am a part of the team as well and I feel for them too.

"Today it was all about O O Seven and the Hanburys [owners]. It was a smashing performance from a remarkable horse."

Henderson added: "He's a gorgeous horse and this is what we've been waiting for. This is where his life begins.

"He was good over hurdles but fences is what he wants. He's always been good schooling and his technique is very special."

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