Seeyouatmidnight sees off Bristol
Seeyouatmidnight looks set for bigger and better things after putting up a fine display of jumping to make all and outpoint sole rival Bristol De Mai in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle.
Seeyouatmidnight, ridden by Brian Hughes, in winning action at Cheltenham last season.
The Sandy Thomson-trained eight-year-old negotiated all 16 obstacles with aplomb, while Bristol De Mai made a few errors and collided with his rival when trying to make inroads three out.
Once the winner got away from the last, Daryl Jacob accepted defeat on the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old, as Brian Hughes steered the 15/8 chance to a clear-cut victory by 12 lengths.
The race had been reduced to a match after More Of That was a withdrawal earlier in the afternoon because of the ground.
Bookmakers reacted by cutting Seeyouatmidnight for the Hennessy Gold Cup, but Thomson said: "Brian says we shouldn't even be thinking about handicaps, he thinks he has improved since last season.
"Before today, we were thinking about either the Rehearsal or the Hennessy, but that might be shelved now.
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"His jumping has always been good and we've seen a few times this weekend that when you can get an easy lead in front it puts other horses under pressure."
Asked about a tilt at the Betfair Chase, Thomson said: "Who knows? It might come a bit soon, but we will see. I haven't really had chance to have a good look at the programme book.
"He takes a lot of work and is a hard horse to get fit, but he is the horse of a lifetime for us."
Hughes added: "It was like driving a Ferrari round there. He never touched a twig, and never missed a beat.
"I couldn't believe how well he picked up from the back of the ditch, I've never come up the hill as fast as that. Ever."
Bristol De Mai's winner Nigel Twiston-Davies admitted: "We let the other horse have his own way and maybe we should have taken him on, but it is easy after the race.
"I'm not sure where we'll go now, the winner is obviously very good."
Seeyouatmidnight remains a 25/1 chance for next year's Grand National with Sky Bet.Carrigdhoun (12-1) just held the late finish of Cultram Abbey to land the Racing Free Bets At bookies.com Handicap Chase.Conditional rider Daragh Bourke, who claims 5lb, always had Maurice Barnes' 11-year-old close to the pace before taking the lead at the fourth-last fence.Cultram Abbey put in a strong bid on the run-in but Carrigdhoun was a head to the good at the line, as the grey followed up his course and distance success from earlier in the month.Gurkha Brave (12-1) led three fences from home in registering his third course success in the Compare Racing Odds At bookies.com Beehive Chase (Novices' Limited Handicap).The Karen McLintock-trained eight-year-old, ridden by Paddy Brennan, kept on dourly to hold Ash Park by two and a half lengths.Danny Cook's bold move from four out paid off as Definitly Red (11-4) put up a game performance in the Exclusive Free Bets At bookies.com Handicap Hurdle.Cook got at Definitly Red to lead from that point and Brian Ellison's seven-year-old proved a willing partner, keeping on stoutly to win by three and a quarter lengths from Onefitzall.Two Taffs (2-7 favourite) was always travelling like the winner as Dan Skelton's charge duly landed the odds under his brother, Harry, in the Expert Betting Tips At bookies.com Novices' Hurdle.Leading two out, the six-year-old prevailed by three and a quarter lengths from Front At The Last.David Loder's Western Wave (7-1) got the better of Bramble Brook after a ding-dong battle in the closing stages to take the Explosive Productions Limited 12th Anniversary Novices' Handicap Hurdle by a neck.
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