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Doncaster

  • 15:25 Sky Bet Chase 3m

  • (listed Handicap) (formerly The Great Yorkshire Chase) £85,000 added 5yo+ 13 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 1m 31.00s
  • Off time: 15:25:27

Big Fella Lands Sky Bet Spoils

Last Updated: 24/01/09 4:53pm

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Nicholls - took Donny's big race.

Nicholls - took Donny's big race.

Big Fella Thanks, carrying the famous colours of Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Denman, chose the valuable Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster to open his account over fences.

And like his illustrious stablemate, he could now be Cheltenham Festival-bound with the four-mile National Hunt Chase the likely target for Paul Nicholls' charge.

According To Pete took the field, shrunk from 22 to 13 mainly due to the soft ground, along until the third-last fence where Big Fella Thanks (9-2) went on under Christian Williams.

The seven-year-old kept on strongly to win by 11 lengths from Ungaro, who was also second 12 months ago. Native Coral was third with According To Pete fourth.

"He was a maiden over fences until today. We ran him in a handicap at Kempton last time and we thought he would nearly win that day, but he unseated his rider in the race won by Fleet Street," said Nicholls' assistant Dan Skelton.

"He's in the four-miler at Cheltenham and that's where he'll go now. He didn't face up to the blinkers once and he'd been running up against some good rivals in novice company. Four miles and a big field would suit him

"Paul Barber bought him from Tom Costello in Ireland as a store horse and he won an Irish point-to-point.

"He won two novice hurdles for us, we couldn't win a novice chase with him, but he's won this handicap instead."

There was a sting in the tail though for Williams as he was handed a five-day ban for using his whip with excessive frequency.

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