CHARLIE Longsdon is eyeing a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival for Ballydine after his plucky victory on Saturday.

And the Chipping Norton trainer gave owner Alan Halsall’s son, Ben, much of the credit after seeing his charge beat more battle-hardened rivals in the Betfred Mobile Masters Handicap Chase at Sandown.

Longsdon was concerned that his eight-year-old gelding may be too inexperienced for the £50,000-added three-mile contest after just two runs over fences.

But Halsall jnr was keen for Ballydine to have a crack, and his judgement proved spot-on as the 4-1 favourite stayed on well in the hands of Sean Bowen, who got the better of his younger brother, James, on Holly Bush Henry by three-quarters of a length.

Longsdon’s other runner, Loose Chips, was a length and a half back in third after making much of the running.

The trainer admitted: “I was pretty apprehensive coming here. To be fair to Ben he was very keen to come for this race. He spotted it a long time ago.

“I was wary that with two runs it was going to be a tough ask, but he has always been a good jumper and to be fair he was on a dangerously low handicap mark.”

Longsdon added that Ballydine could now head for the National Hunt Chase over four miles at the Cheltenham Festival.