Pete Lands Cheltenham Cross Country

Fri 14th Dec 2012, 15:28

Outlaw Pete (seen at Punchestown)
©Healy Racing Photos
Outlaw Pete built upon the promise of his debut over Cheltenham's cross-country course to take the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase on the opening day of Cheltenham's International meeting.

The 7/2 chance justified strong market support in the final minutes before the race to score by seven lengths under amateur rider Josh Halley.

However as if often the case in these contests, the race wasn't without its share of drama as favourite Uncle Junior and the well-fancied Arabella Boy both crashed out at the replica Canal Turn when the pair were travelling strongly and looking live contenders.

Bostons Angel (7/1) kept on for second place, just ahead of outsider Leac An Scail.

Paddy Power now make Outlaw Pete and Uncle Junior 6/1 joint favourites for the Cross Country Chase at the Festival in March.

The McManus colours were in the winner's enclosure again little more than half an hour later when At Fishers Cross took the Citipost Handicap Hurdle under AP McCoy, who had made the journey to Cheltenham after riding in the opener at Bangor-on-Dee.

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.