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Last Updated: 14/12/11 3:28pm
Time For Rupert: Impressive Newbury winner
Time For Rupert (8-15 favourite) made all the running under Denis O'Regan to win the Betfair Graduation Chase at Newbury.
Paul Webber's stable star was given a positive ride by O'Regan, who was a high-profile change of jockey last week.
He jumped well in the main and wasn't hard-pressed to see off runner-up The Giant Bolster (5-1).
Sarah Humphrey's Carpincho and Paul Nicholls' Pasco made up the field but both were well-held at the line.
O'Regan said: "It was very straightforward for me today. I didn't think he'd pick up that well in the ground. I was very happy.
"It was a big drop in class - I'm glad he came through with flying colours. I just wanted to go round free enough and enjoy the experience.
"I schooled him twice in the last week or so just to get used to him. He had a pop round today. He's a horse with a lot of class, very genuine and jumps very well. When I turned him I looked around and he just picked up. I was really pleased.
"The first thing I thought when I came in was that it's a shame he'll not be going for the Lexus because he would love Leopardstown. He's very exciting and I'm thrilled to have the ride on him."
Paul Webber reacted by saying his chestnut would have one more outing before the Festival.
He said: "What a relief. He's a horse that will never win by further than he has to, so I have to be very pleased.
"We'll go for the Argento Chase and maybe look at the Irish Hennessy as an alternative. The way he jumps Denis thinks he could be a Grand National horse, but if he goes and wins the Argento and finishes third or fourth in the Gold Cup we'd have to be happy."
Paddy Power make Time For Rupert a 33-1 chance for the Grand National and are unchanged at 20-1 for the Gold Cup.
Meanwhile Victor Chandler cut the winner to 14/1 (from 20s) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his win.
VC spokesperson Charlie McCann: "Time for Rupert got his season back on track and we have always considered him potentially Gold Cup class but he looks an out and out stayer and the softer ground the better for him at Cheltenham in March."