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  • 12:55 Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase 2m 4f 78y

  • (Qualifier) £25,000 added 1yo+ 9 ran
  • Winner £15,640 2nd £4,620 3rd £2,310 4th £1,155
  • Going: Good (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 5m 9.50s
  • Off time: 12:56:11

Astracad wins Veterans Chase at Cheltenham Open Meeting

Last Updated: 11/11/16 9:20pm

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Astracad (right) beats Ericht in the Veterans' Chase at Cheltenham's Open Meeting

Astracad (right) beats Ericht in the Veterans' Chase at Cheltenham's Open Meeting

Astracad made a winning seasonal debut in the Glenfarclas Veterans' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, a race staged in place of the cross-country chase which was abandoned earlier in the week.

Trained by local handler Nigel Twiston-Davies, the popular chaser knows the undulations of Prestbury Park better than most having had 23 three previous outings at the track, and he recorded his third course win with a hard-fought victory over Nicky Henderson's Ericht.

Astracad was sent off the well-backed 100/30 favourite under 3lb claimer Jamie Bargary and was travelling strongly on the heels of front-runner Dunraven Storm throughout the first half of the race before taking up the running approaching the fourth-last fence.

Bargary allowed the 10-year-old to take command at the next and although Ericht (9/2) came alongside to lay down a strong challenge over the final two obstacles, Astracad stayed on strongly to score by a length and a half.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Realt Mor (4/1), who briefly looked like latching onto the front pair coming down the hill, didn't find enough for pressure to trouble the principals and finished a further seven lengths back in third.

Twiston-Davies said: "He has been a lovely horse all his life. It is a very exciting win.

"He has done superbly. I didn't think he was fit enough and I put everyone away saying he had no chance.

"Willy Twiston-Davies, my technical advisor, said he was not fit - maybe he is best when he is not fit!

"We will stick to veterans' races with him now."

Bargary told Racing UK: "He's pretty genuine and I don't think it really matters where he is in a race, he gave me a great ride. He's just a lovely all-round horse.

"Everything suited him today and he's just a gentleman really. The ground is on the soft side of good - a little bit dead maybe - but he loved it out there today."

The racecourse stewards handed Davy Russell a two-day ban for his ride aboard Realt Mor, finding he had used his whip when his mount was clearly holding third place.

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