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Racing: Trainer's tears as Bally Legend triumphs at Kempton

Most of Kempton's big Saturday card was designed for the leading British trainers to run the rule over some Cheltenham Festival hopes but the feature BetBright Chase allowed a less familiar name to celebrate her biggest success to date.

Jockey Ian Popham clears the final fence on Bally Legend to win at Kempton   Photograph: Getty
Jockey Ian Popham clears the final fence on Bally Legend to win at Kempton Photograph: Getty

Caroline Keevil, who is based in Dorset, prepared Bally Legend to the minute as he stayed on strongly through the pack to lift the £100,000 Grade Three handicap at odds of 28-1.

Although not an event to attract the likes of Desert Orchid, Rhyme 'n' Reason or Rough Quest any more, the victory for the consistent nine-year-old was of great importance to his connections and there were tears shed in the winner's enclosure.

"I'm still shaking - that's my biggest winner by a long shot," said Keevil. "As a small trainer, you have some highs and lots of lows, but whenever I'm at my lowest ebb, Bally Legend pulls it out of the bag."

Paul Nicholls' Bury Parade was shut off when challenging before the final fence and finished a length-and-a-quarter behind.

It had already been a decent day for Nicholls, with Irving posting one of the best performances seen in his division this season in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle. The 4-6 favourite reached over the final flight, but was flawless elsewhere as he bowled over Amore Alato by five lengths.

Although this was effectively the final act of Cheltenham trials, two of the other Graded winners may be heading elsewhere.

Harry Fry had mapped out a plan for Activial after his excellent debut second to the live JCB Triumph Hurdle hope Calipto at the Newbury Hennessy meeting, but the trainer's mind might have been changed by the comments of jockey Noel Fehily following his success. The 9-4 favourite took a while to build momentum in the betbright.com Adonis Juvenile Hurdle, but was going away at the finish.

"Noel Fehily's first words were 'not necessarily a Triumph horse'. We'll see," said Fry.

Another likely to sidestep Cheltenham will be Betbright Mobile Pendil Novices' Chase winner Balder Succes (9-4).

Wayne Hutchinson was happy to let things unfold in front of him and launched his challenge halfway down the home straight, eventually staying on a length- and-a-quarter clear of God's Own.

"We didn't ride him as aggressively today, and it gives us options," said trainer Alan King. "I don't think he goes to Cheltenham - the owners aren't keen - that's why he ran today."

Trainer Jamie Snowden hopes the impressive performance of Present View (5-2 favourite) in the Rewards4Racing Handicap Chase will be enough to allow him in at the novices' handicap at Cheltenham.

And Nicky Henderson was happy after the win of Full Shift (5-2) in the Jockey Club Handicap Hurdle. "We're thinking EBF Final at Sandown," he said.

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