Starchitect breaks chase duck
News of the action from Ayr where Starchitect took a step towards Cheltenham with his first victory over fences.
Starchitect opened his account over fences at Ayr
David Pipe's smart dual-purpose performer Starchitect opened his account over fences at the third time of asking at Ayr.
Rated as high as 150 over hurdles and also smart on the level, the six-year-old has had the misfortune of coming up against a couple of smart types on his first two forays over the bigger obstacles.
Looking for an easier opportunity Pipe sent him to the west coast of Scotland all the way from his base on the Somerset/Devon border for the racinguk.com Novices' Chase, and the race could not have gone any smoother.
Surprisingly sent off at a shade of odds-against as the 11/10 favourite, Tom Scudamore was at pains to give Starchitect as easy a race as possible and he passed the post hard on the bridle, winning by three lengths from Takingrisks.
"It was all about giving him some confidence," said Pipe. "He'd run well in two novice chases this season, but it is very hard to find an 'easy' novice chase these days.
"We've had to go a long way but it looked like, on ratings at least, that if he jumped well he'd take all the beating. He did jump nicely and he did what we expected him to do.
"He used to wear blinkers and be aggressively ridden, but he settled nicely today and relaxed. It might be that a truly-run two miles on a galloping track is just what he needs.
"I think we'd probably run him again before Cheltenham, now his confidence is going the right way."
Starchitect runs in the colours of Paul and Clare Rooney and they were also carried to success by Jonny Eager (10/1) in the Racing UK In HD Handicap Chase, ridden by Craig Nicol and trained by Alistair Whillans.
Evan Williams was another trainer to send his horses on the long trek, this time from the Vale of Glamorgan, and he was rewarded with a short-priced double was there was a case of good fortune about Billy Bronco's win in the three-mile maiden hurdle.
Still over 10 lengths behind long-time leader Elusive Theatre, that one came down at the second-last, gifting the 30/100 favourite the race.
It was much easier for Paul Moloney on De Dollar Man (10/11 favourite) in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle, as he coasted to a seven-length win.
Suprise Vendor (6/1) won for the 14th time for Stuart Coltherd when staying on strongly after the last in the Watch Racing UK In HD Handicap Hurdle while Rowdy Rocher (13/8 favourite) swooped late under Rachael McDonald to win the two-mile-five handicap chase.