Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase
Class 2, Cheltenham 14:05
£25,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 4f 78y  
Friday 11th November 2016

1 O O Seven 9/2
2 Sixing Tennessee 33/1
3 Rock The Kasbah 5/1
7 ran Distances: 10l, 7l, ½l
TIME 5m 10.60s (slow by 12.60s)

O O Seven wins for Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville

Barters Hill was pulled up and dismounted

O O Seven
© Racehorse Photos
Johnny Og

The Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven (9/2) ran out a facile winner of the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase, the third race on day one, Countryside Day, of The Open 2016.

The race was marred by a suspected injury sustained to Ben Pauling's Barters Hill (11/8 favourite), who was pulled up during the race. Henderson's son of Flemensfirth was the chief beneficiary and travelled strongly throughout the two mile and four furlong contest.

Under Nico de Boinville, the six-year-old pulled clear entering the home straight and despite wandering towards the stands' side rail in the closing stages, pulled well clear to score by 10 lengths. Sizing Tennessee (33/1), trained by Colin Tizzard was second.

Henderson's gelding had run twice previously at Prestbury Park, finishing a well-beaten 16th in the 2015 Champion Bumper and eighth in this year's Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle.

A delighted Henderson said: "He is a gorgeous looking horse and this is what we have been waiting three years for with O O Seven.

"It is a long wait these days. They do bumpering and then novice hurdling but this is where his life really begins as a chaser. He was good over hurdles and we were patient with him.

"He has always been very good since we started schooling over fences earlier in the year.

"It hasn't been easy with the weather but his technique was always very special. You have to be good to come here first time and that was good.

"I think he was lonely in front. It is beautiful ground and they went a good gallop which Barters Hill is always going to give and when he wasn't in the race anymore, they kept it up. I think they were all quite tired.

"He was having his first run of the year and he did get lonely but I'm not worried about that. He's good though and he has a great technique."

Henderson also expressed sympathy for Pauling, commenting: "I am really sorry for Ben [Pauling] and Barters Hill. I have seen Ben and hopefully Barters Hill is going to be all right.

"That takes a lot of the gloss off the race because he was the one we all had to beat and Ben has done so well with him. It is very cruel if they won't be able to play with him again for a bit.

"It left the race wide open and our fella was able to grab his opportunity, which was grand."

Sizing Tennessee finished 10 lengths behind the Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven in second place at odds of 33/1.

He was one of 15 horses that owners Ann and Alan Potts sent to trainer Colin Tizzard this autumn, and was previously trained by Henry de Bromhead in Ireland.

Tizzard said: "I thought the bugger was going to win for a minute! He's a big heavy boy - he can only improve. He definitely is going to be better for a run. We brought him here to find out what he was like and we are pleasantly surprised. For an eight-year-old going on nine having his first run over fences, it was alright.

"He's been with us six or seven weeks now. When they came off the lorry, this was the one we knew, because he had four white feet and a blaze!

"Aidan [Coleman, who rode Sizing Tennessee] said he slipped going into the first fence and that frightened him for the next two, but he said that for a horse going over fences for the first time, he was as good as he's ridden."

Coral Sports

Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase
£25,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 78y, Class 2
7 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st O O Seven (IRE) 9/2 Nico de Boinville
11-2
N J Henderson 6
2nd 10 Sizing Tennessee (IRE) 33/1 Aidan Coleman
11-2
C L Tizzard 8
3rd 7 Rock The Kasbah (IRE) 5/1 R Johnson
11-10
P J Hobbs 6
4th ½ Theinval (FR) 16/1 J McGrath
11-7
N J Henderson 6
5th ½ Its'afreebee (IRE) 7/1 Harry Skelton
11-7
D Skelton 6
PU Flying Angel (IRE) 8/1 Ryan Hatch
11-7
N A Twiston-Davies 5
PU Barters Hill (IRE) 11/8f D Bass
11-2
B Pauling 6