Rather good start at Hereford
A review of the action as racing returned to Hereford for the first time in four years on Thursday afternoon.
Andrew Tinkler riding Rather Be clear the last to win the bet365/British Stallion Studs EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Hereford
Rather Be got punters off to a flying start when taking the honours as racing returned to Hereford for the first time in four years.
Nicky Henderson's charge was sent off the 1/2 favourite for the first racecourse action under National Hunt rules as the course reopened its doors after it was closed in December 2012.
The five-year-old, ninth in Cheltenham's Champion Bumper, made a successful debut over smaller obstacles that augured well for the future.
Rather Be travelled well for Andrew Tinkler as The Blue Bomber and Grand Coureur set the pace before the winner was asked to up the tempo before the turn for home.
His class was quickly evident as he pulled away to land the bet365/British Stallion Studs EBF 'National Stud' Novices' Hurdle by seven lengths from The Blue Bomber. Daklondike was another five lengths away in third.
Tinkler said: "It rode really well. The ground is lovely. All us jockeys said it was good ground with not much firm in it.
"It's a good, galloping track and it's nice to be back."
Of Rather Be, the jockey added: "He's a good horse. He was a bit naughty on his first start when he was green, then he won his first bumper and was a good second at Doncaster.
"He went to Cheltenham and it made a man of him. He's one to look forward to. He'll probably go up in trip towards the end of the season, so he'll have options."
Henderson said: "It's great to be back and well done to everyone involved. When most things go, they go for good. Here is one that hasn't. They've made a fantastic effort getting it back. We never wanted it to go and you never want to lose a course you enjoy or like.
"It's always been a fair track. The ground out there is beautiful. To come here and see a crowd like this shows what can be achieved. When you look at the crowd, that tells you enough. I'm sure that the Herefordshire National Hunt team are out in force, and that says it all.
"It's really nice to win the first race."
Henderson is already toying with the idea of stepping Rather Be up in distance. The Seven Barrows handler added: "He ran in some good bumpers last season. I'm never a great fan of the Cheltenham Bumper but he took his chance. It was a nice start for him.
"He jumped really well and should get two and a half miles."
Coillte Lass doubled up for favourite-backers when grinding out victory in the bet365.com Mares' 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle.
The 4/6 shot took no prisoners as she set out to make all of the running under Sam Twiston-Davies and kept on dourly to land the odds for champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls.
Lost In Lecce made up ground on the run-in but Coillte Lass, making her hurdling bow, was still four and a half lengths ahead at the line.