Paul Robson insisted he was left ‘flabbergasted’ after Cannock Park rewarded his patient approach when giving the Scottish trainer a winner from his first runner at Cheltenham in the mallardjewellers.com Maiden Hurdle, the opening contest on today’s third and final day of The November Meeting.
The gelded son of Cannock Chase ensured that Robson’s long trip down from Denholm in the Scottish Borders was made worthwhile when following up his last time out victory in a National Hunt Flat contest at Bangor with a tenacious success in the extended two-mile contest.
Racing up with the pace throughout the 15-2 chance appeared to have the measure of all of his rivals, including 4-7 Favourite The Kemble Brewery, rounding the home turn after opening up a commanding lead under Craig Nichol.
Although Irish raider Innatendue from the yard of John McConnell attempted to reel back in Cannock Park after the last the Spanish Moon mare could not quite get on terms with a neck splitting the pair at the line.
Robson said: “He is just a tough horse. He is only a baby even though he is five. We would have liked to have a run over hurdles before now. We knew he was a good horse but we were scared to run him as we had this race marked out and he has gone and done it so we are delighted.
“I wanted to come here and win a race instead of somewhere else as it is Cheltenham at the end of the day. It is lovely to come here with a nice horse. I’m pretty much flabbergasted to be fair. It is what everyone says it is, it is a dream (to have a winner at Cheltenham).
“We knew the way he won his bumper, and point-to-point bumper that he was a nice horse. Lyall Hodgins rode him that day (at Alnwick) and he couldn’t pull him up and he went past the line 20 lengths clear.
“He was a little bit unfortunate at Carlisle as he didn’t have the easiest run up to that race. He finished second, but he then went to Bangor and we fancied him that day and he went and done what we thought he was going to do.
“We just had to hold our time and get him schooled. He was still green today. I walked the track and I thought it was a bit heavy down the back straight, but they have done a great job getting it where it is today.
“I just about beat him up to the line as I was running up next to him. I’m delighted as this is super.
It might only be November however Robson is already dreaming of an appearance at the Cheltenham Festival in March with Cannock Chase, who also secured Craig Nichol with his first Cheltenham winner.
He concluded: “I like the way he has done it. He pricked his ears the whole way around and he was green as grass so there is a lot of improvement.
“We will come back here in March. I think there is decent novice at Wetherby at the end of December or the start of January and that will be his next target and then we will come back here in March.”