Henrietta Knight could aim Calgary Bay at Cheltenham’s hunter chase meeting after the veteran gave her a first winner since making a low-key return to racing earlier this year.

Knight, who sent out Best Mate from her West Lockinge stables, near Wantage, to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups from 2002-4, was thrilled to see the 12-year-old triumph at Ascot on Sunday.

The legendary handler, who retired three years ago, returned to the training ranks in February to run Calgary Bay in hunter chases.

And the veteran made virtually all the running under Harry Bannister in an extended two miles and five-furlong contest, before two super jumps in the straight secured a six-lengths verdict over Foundry Square at 8-1.

“It was nice to see the old boy winning,” said Knight. “It has taken a while to get him back in the groove with two years off.

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“With horses, it’s rather like with older people getting them fit again is much harder after time off.

“He has still got a bit of class and he jumped so well we were absolutely thrilled and Harry Bannister rode him very well.”

Calgary Bay could now run in a lady riders’ race at Cheltenham’s popular hunter chase meeting on Wednesday, April 29 – a course where he has won twice before.

“He (owner Tim Radford) won’t run him an awful lot more in his life and will probably think about retiring him at the end of the season,” she added.

Knight had always felt Calgary Bay needed to race on left-handed tracks when he was in his prime, but he showed on Sunday he could make an impact running in the opposite direction.

“I just took a chance,” she added. “When Harry had ridden him this year he had not noticed him hanging left.

“Maybe that has gone with age.

“I don’t think he’d want to go on a sharp right-handed track, but Ascot is quite a sweeping course.”