There couldn’t have been a more appropriate way for the Flat season to officially end on Saturday as a heavily-backed David O’Meara horse scooted clear to win the feature race by 12 lengths.
The November Handicap, which traditionally curtails the flat season at Doncaster, is regarded as one of the most competitive handicaps of the season.
But O’Meara’s Open Eagle turned the race into a procession as jockey Danny Tudhope sat motionless and waited for his rivals to muster an effort but the favourite came home unchallenged in a most impressive display.
Many experts are regarding Open Eagle’s success as a very well-executed plot which was carried out to perfection by his mastermind trainer.
After hacking up in a handicap at Redcar on Tuesday, Open Eagle was given a 6lb penalty which meant he just squeezed into the November Handicap at the bottom of the weights and during the race Tudhope brought his charge very wide of the main group to race solo on fresh ground.
The low weight carried and bravery to run the on fresher ground both resulted in the comfortable success and the owners, Middleham Park Racing’s Bloodstock manager, Nick Bradley was quick to reveal it was a well thought out plot.
He said: “The tactics have allowed us to win. He was the only horse to run on that part of the track. We figured it out and Danny has done all the hard work. If it works out you’re a genius and if it doesn’t you look daft. Thankfully for us it worked out.”
Controversy reigned over the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) again on Saturday as the Neil Mullholland-trained The Young Master won Wincanton’s feature race in breathtaking fashion only to be disqualified for being ineligible to enter in the first place.
The race conditions of the Badger Ales Trophy (listed Handicap) require horses to of ran at least three times over fences prior to the race and with The Young Master only running twice he has since been disqualified subject to an appeal.
The BHA have since blamed a computer error for the young horse being able to enter and are looking into why the software used by Weatherbys failed to prevent the horse from entering.
Meanwhile, owner Mikey Burbridge has vowed to fight the disqualification all the way and will even hire a solicitor if needed to keep the £34,170 first prize.
He said: “I have been in racing for 20 years and am not going to give up without a fight. I think they have made an error and we’ll end up paying for it.”
It’s the start of Cheltenham’s first big meeting of the season today as the doors open at Prestbury Park for the three-day Open Meeting.
The big race comes on Saturday in the form of the Paddy Power Gold Cup and with 24 high-class entries at this stage it looks set to be a vintage renewal.
Lambourn trainer Jamie Snowden earmarked this race several months ago for his stable star Present View and with a very encouraging re-appearance over hurdles recently he looks set to run a massive race.
With three victories from five starts over fences he is a horse who is dramatically improving and with all his preparations geared towards this race he is worth a bet.
There would not be a more popular winner than his trainer Jamie Snowden and he has said of his stable star: “Fingers crossed, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is very much the plan for Present View. We have been training him with the Paddy Power in mind but it is always a very tough race.
“We said to ourselves that if he has improved mentally seven pounds and if he has improved physically - which I think he has done - then fingers crossed he will be very competitive.”
Beadle’s Top Tip
Present View - Paddy Power Gold Cup, Cheltenham, Saturday.