The well supported 13/8 favourite Thomas Campbell made it two wins in as many starts at Prestbury Park with a comfortable two and a half-length victory in the Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap under young conditional James Bowen.
Always travelling well, the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old son of Yeats stayed on powerfully after the final flight to fend off the sustained challenge of Sophie Leech’s Anteros (8/1) in second, with a further five lengths back to Kim Bailey’s Rocky Treasure (13/2) in third.
Seven Barrows maestro Henderson, registering a 4.25/1 double after the victory of Apple’s Shakira in the G2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, said: “James gave him a lovely ride. He is a really good lad and it’s his last day claiming 7lbs so I wasn’t going to waste it.
“I’ve got a number of good boys at home including Ned Curtis and Hugo Hunt so it’s nice as these boys are the future.
“Thomas Campbell was always going well – he is progressing nicely. He has a bit of a temperament but he always tries.
“We have never run him in that sort of ground and whilst he is a reprobate, he has ability and he uses it.
“He jumped very well today, so it suggests that he does handle the ground. We’ll keep creeping away with him but he’s a very honest fella.”
3.00pm Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle
1 THOMAS CAMPBELL (Mrs Van Geest & Mrs Kelvin Hughes) Nicky Henderson 5-11-10 James Bowen (7) 13/8 favourite
2 Anteros (Mr K. W. Bell) Sophie Leech 9-10-04 8/1
3 Rocky’s Treasure (Mr J. Perriss) Kim Bailey 6-10-10 13/2
Distances: 2 1/2, 5
Tote Win: £2.20 Places: £1.60; £1.90; £1.90 Exacta: £15.10
THOMAS BECOMES BOWEN’S FIRST CHELTENHAM WINNER
Conditional jockey James Bowen rode his first Cheltenham winner today when 13/8 favourite Thomas Campbell won the Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle.
No less pleasing for the 16-year-old Welshman was that the victory came on a horse trained by his boss, champion trainer Nicky Henderson, who he joined in the autumn. Today’s win was his 21st victory under Rules – he set a British record of 30 wins by a novice point-to-point rider last season – and while he claimed 7lb today following a 20th victory at Exeter in midweek, he is now down to a 5lb allowance.
Bowen said: “He travelled brilliantly, he settled, and he jumped really good. All the way round I was on the winner, and hopefully he can go on to prove a very nice horse.
“He wasn’t the most straightforward when he was younger, but he’s come into himself – he was easy to ride today. He’s not keen, he settled and he stayed on in that ground. That’s his trip.
“So far things are going well – long may it continue.”
BRENNAN IMPRESSED WITH CAMPBELL
Jockey Paddy Brennan was satisfied with the performance of Anteros, who finished the two and half-length runner-up behind Thomas Campbell in his attempt to win back-to-back runnings of the Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham this afternoon.
The 8/1 shot won for jockey Paul Townend and trainer Sophie Leech 12 months ago and Brennan felt that the nine-year-old had run into a very well-handicapped horse this afternoon.
“I maybe just got there a fraction early but the winner has won very well,” said the jockey.
“I very keen to get that near-side rail though. I was very impressed with the winner though and the way he picked up.
“Anteros has run a nice race though – probably as well as he did last year.”
Rocky’s Treasure finished a further five lengths back in third and his jockey, David Bass, was another who was taken with the winner’s performance.
“I think the winner is very well-handicapped,” said Bass.
“I’m really pleased with my lad though. I think he’ll be better on better ground though. It rode really heavy today and I’m pleased with the way he ran.
“I think there could be a nice handicap in him somewhere down the line.”
To view a replay of the race, please click here –