LETCOMBE Bassett trainer Mark Bradstock’s thoughts were with Coneygree’s late breeder, Lord Oaksey, after his charge galloped to an impressive victory at Cheltenham yesterday.
The strapping five-year-old gelding made all the running under Mattie Batchelor in the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, before powering up the hill to beat Bondage by seven lengths.
Coneygree, like his illustrious half-brother, Carruthers, was bred by Lord Oaksey, Bradstock’s father-in-law, who died in September.
And after greeting his winner, the trainer said: “This is the place to be and John, I am sure, will be looking down on us.”
Sent off an 8-1 shot, Coneygree jumped superbly out of the testing going for Batchelor, and Bradstock added: “I thought Mattie gave him a fabulous ride because the ground out there is not very nice at all.
“I think this fellow is a completely different stamp of a horse to Carruthers, who is only just 16 hands and not able to carry big weights and, as I said after Uttoxeter, anything he does over hurdles is a bonus because he is a proper chaser.”
Batchelor added: “If you compare Coneygree to Carruthers at the same age you would say today’s winner has more class. “Carruthers has guts and determination, but this fellow oozes class.”
Carruthers, meanwhile, found the combination of top weight and the bottomless ground too much as he trailed in last of the 11 finishers behind Monbeg Dude in the Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Aston Rowant trainer Lawney Hill saddled Overlay to complete a third successive victory at Fontwell yesterday.