Hey Big Spender (IRE) booked his ticket for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a fantastic weight carrying performance in the Grade 3 Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday. Colin Tizzard’s charge made light of top weight of 11st 12 and gave Fredo almost two stone and a comfortable three quarter length beating under the trainer’s son Joe. “That was a great effort under top weight and if the ground comes up soft he may well run in the Gold Cup,” reported the winning trainer after the race. Hey Big Spender, by Rudimentary, was bred by Oliver Brennan and is a half brother to Miss Orchestra who won the Midlands National and who is also the dam of Battlecry, a five time winner for the Nigel Twiston Davies stable.
Menorah (IRE) got his steeplechase career firmly back on track with an easy win in the William Hill Novice Chase at Kempton on Saturday. The son of Kings Theatre jumped well in the main and had too many gears for Kumbeshwar (by Doyen). His trainer Philip Hobbs was more than satisfied with the performance but is keen for more match practice before tackling the Arkle Trophy at Chetenham in March. Already proven as a Festival winner, Menorah should be more suited by the likely strong pace at Cheltenham and he will be a leading contender for his owners Grahame & Diana Whateley. Menorah was sold as a foal in Tattersalls Ireland by his breeder Elizabeth Grant for €48,000 to Eugene McDermott’s Kennycourt Stud.
At Navan on Sunday the feature race, The Foxrock Handicap Chase was won by the sprightly 12yo Jack The Bus (IRE). The winner is trained by Peter Casey who also bred the son of Old Vic and who was winning his second valuable chase in a week following the win of Flemenstar the previous Sunday. Jack the Bus won the 2010 Troytown Chase at Navan and Sundays win boosted his prize-money earnings to over €125,000.