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Opening Batsman Scores in Racing Plus Chase
23/02/13

1 Opening Batsman 12/1
2 Rolling Aces 4/1
3 Duke Of Lucca 10/1
13 ran Distances: 2l, 6l, 2½l
TIME 6m 5.00s (slow by 7.00s)

Harry Fry took a major step forward in his first proper season as a trainer, as Opening Batsman stole the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton from under the nose of the young handler's mentor Paul Nicholls.

 

Opening Batsman
© Racehorse Photos

Opening Batsman

Although responsible for last season's Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby, whom he prepared from what was Nicholls' satellite yard in Seaborough, the 26-year-old's name is now above the same Dorset premises and this Grade Three event was by some way his biggest success so far.

Still a novice but an evident improver, Opening Batsman (12-1) hugged the inside rail under Noel Fehily and finished the three miles that little more strongly than Nicholls' Rolling Aces, who was there with every chance but was beaten by two lengths.

He was roared back by owners the Twelfth Man Partnership, which includes cricketer Andrew Brassington.

"What a day," said Fry, who is the youngest jumps trainer in the country. "I thought Noel gave him an amazing ride and he didn't give away an inch from the inside. The ground and the track suited him perfectly and I'm so delighted.

"Big winners on a Saturday is what it's all about and for a young team, it shows what we can do in the future. He has multiple entries at Cheltenham, but this was the plan and we will enjoy today."

Fry went on: "I wouldn't be where I am without four fantastic years with Paul. He'll be disappointed to be beaten, as we're all competitive, but he was the first to congratulate me."

Nicholls himself said of Rolling Aces: "He's done everything right, but he maybe ran with the choke out a bit and it's cost him at the end. We will maybe look for a novice chase for him at Aintree."

Among the footnotes was the performance of the dashing grey Nacarat, twice a winner and twice more placed in the race. He made a howling error on the first circuit, eventually finishing last, and trainer Tom George announced his immediate retirement.

George said: "That's near enough the first mistake he has ever made and it's his way of telling us he's had enough."

 

Racing Plus Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£100,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m, Class 1
13 ran

Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Opening Batsman
H Fry
N Fehily
10st 5lbs
12 - 1
Winner
2
Rolling Aces
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 0lbs
4 - 1
2 lengths
3
Duke Of Lucca
P J Hobbs
T J O'Brien
10st 5lbs
10 - 1
6 lengths
4
Quinz
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
10st 9lbs
12 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
5
Roberto Goldback
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 5lbs
12 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
6
Same Difference
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
10st 2lbs
6 - 1
2 lengths
7
Hector's Choice
R Lee
J E Moore
10st 12lbs
33 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
8
What A Friend
P F Nicholls
Harry Derham
11st 12lbs
25 - 1
13 lengths
9
Summery Justice
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
10st 0lbs
16 - 1
1 3/4 length
10
Quantitativeeasing
N J Henderson
A Tinkler
10st 12lbs
20 - 1
1 1/4 length
11
Wyck Hill
D G Bridgwater
A P McCoy
10st 7lbs
3 - 1
4 lengths
12
Nacarat
T R George
P J Brennan
11st 6lbs
10 - 1
21 lengths
Fell
Mister Hyde
Jonjo O'Neill
Maurice Linehan
10st 0lbs
25 - 1
       


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