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  • 13:30 Zenergi Novices' Chase2m 1f

  • £6,000 added 5yo+ 4 ran
  • Winner £3,899 2nd £1,145 3rd £572 4th £286
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 5.50s
  • Off time: 13:34:29

Bleu outbattles Bellvano

Chasing debutant outguns rival up Newbury run-in

Last Updated: 18/01/12 5:21pm

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Cedre Bleu (right): Got the better of Bellvano

Cedre Bleu (right): Got the better of Bellvano

Cedre Bleu showed more in the way of battling qualities to beat Bellvano in the Zenergi Novices' Chase at Newbury.

The former was making his chasing debut for Paul Nicholls and took the first couple of fences in slick style at the head of affairs under Ruby Walsh.

He was challenged for the lead by Lidar down the back straight and the pair collided at the cross fence as Bellvano sat in behind the duo travelling strongly.

That seemed to unsettle Cedre Bleu and he was sitting duck at the second last as Bellvano cruised alongside.

Barry Geraghty's mount looked set for an easy win but showed little stomach for a fight on the run-in and Cedre Bleu was able to force his way back in front on the way to a dramatic two-and-a-half length success.

Bridle Horse

Walsh said: "He jumped really well, Lidar was jumping into me much of the way which didn't help but for a first-timer he's jumped well.

"I know that Bellvano doesn't find much off the bridle, so I thought if I could get him at it I had a chance and I did.

"It was his first run so he'll improve and two miles around Newbury going a good gallop, I'm happy enough."

There were quotes for the Arkle flying about for the Paul Nicholls-trained Cedre Bleu after his victory in the Zenergi Novices' Chase but the trainer said he will only consider that race if the ground were to turn up heavy.

He looked set to come off second-best to Bellvano for a long way but when Nicky Henderson's Punchestown winner found little off the bridle, Ruby Walsh kept the 5-6 favourite up to his work to win by two and a half lengths.

Nicholls said: "He's a nice, big, scopey horse. He jumps really well but Lidar jumped across him down the back which made him a bit careful. He's got a big, bold jump in him and he'll get better with experience.

Nightmare To Train

"He's been a nightmare to train this year, we've had a million problems with him. After we'd sorted all the problems out, he decided to fall down on the road over Christmas which set him back again so he should improve for the run.

"He's a long-term project. He's only five and I've no great plans, just to get some experience into him.

"Not every horse needs to go to Cheltenham or Aintree, there's plenty of other nice races to aim him at and we've got an eye on the future with him.

"I think two and a half miles will be his trip. We can improve his technique and get him fitter. I think there's huge improvement in him."

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