Tim Vaughan believes the future is bright for Explained after he inflicted a shock defeat on leading bumper horse Shutthefrontdoor at Folkestone.
The latter was unbeaten in three starts in National Hunt Flat races for Jonjo O'Neill last season, claiming Listed prizes at Ascot and Newbury, so it was no surprise to see him sent off a red-hot 1-4 favourite for his debut over obstacles.
However, he is going to have to smarten up his act quite considerably if he is to scale similar heights in this sphere, as he jumped and travelled lazily under Tony McCoy on his way to finishing a lacklustre third in the totequadpot EBF 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle. Explained (7-2), on the other hand, raced enthusiastically throughout at the head of affairs under Richard Johnson and had enough in hand after the final flight to hold off Phone Home by a length and a quarter.
"He's a horse who has done nothing wrong so far. He only won a match race at Wincanton on his debut but we then sent him to Ffos Las to win again and Richard (Johnson) got off him and said it rode a good race," said Vaughan.
"The ground was horrible on his debut over hurdles at Uttoxeter last time and he's a big lump of a horse who takes a lot of work. He has obviously come on considerably since then. He could be quite nice as two miles is definitely the minimum for him. You'd say he should go on and get two and a half and three miles.
"We'll give him three weeks, try to find something similar, hopefully win another with him and then think about stepping him up in class. Jonjo's horse probably hasn't performed on the day, but we're delighted with our horse."
Dollar Bill and Denis O'Regan ran away with the toteexacta Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, much to the surprise of trainer Nick Gifford. The 10-1 shot, carrying the colours of TV host Jeremy Kyle and his wife, was settled in midfield for much of the journey but once the pacesetters faltered, he strolled clear to come home with 33 lengths in hand over While You Wait.
Gifford told At The Races: "We're obviously delighted, but very surprised. It's very testing and tiring ground out there and this horse didn't go on it on the Flat. He's still quite a weak horse. He'd been working well at home, but I've worked him on the soft ground at home and on the all-weather and he's a much better horse on the all-weather. They make fools of you."
The James Eustace-trained Wily Fox emerged victorious after a thrilling finish to the totepool.com Handicap Hurdle. Well backed following a good second on the Flat at Newbury last month, the 7-2 joint-favourite found plenty for Paddy Brennan to get the better of main market rival Todareistodo by a neck.
Brennan said: "The hood definitely helps him. I was there (in front) a fraction soon but it was a messy race and they didn't go very quick. He came out on top, so it's good."
10 March 2014Injured Maguire out of Festival
Maguire airlifted to hospital
Judgement day beckons for Fly
Curtis wants Scholfield for Tea
Que takes aim at Festival landmark
Irving strives to rule Supreme
Clouds lined up for RSA
Gold hopes fading for Topper
Champagne in sparkling form
Sire spearheads Queen Mother entry
Ruby ready to Rock
Confidence behind Conor
Special One bids for Champion glory
Suspensory problem sidelines Chris
Mullins 'very happy' with Fly
Cooper raring to go after fall
National glee for supersub Mullins
Francome fancies New One revenge
Quinn targets another Triumph
Buck's primed for World title bid
Cheltenham team monitor ground
Fenton delays Instalment call
Activial to duck Festival mission
Hope springs eternal for Encore
Fab Fly takes on eight in Champion
9 March 2014Fall leaves Cooper 'badly winded'
Cooper warms up with double
Cooper warms up with double
Avenue roads lead to Irish Oaks
Dude's the main man
Top trainers reject watering
Hinterland takes Champion test
Baltimore sets up bonus bid
Warrior wins Trial battle
Fallon hits Meydan heights
Chartreux bounces back to best
Brave Vic has Final word
Soumillon strikes on super Shea
On His Own joins Gold Cup field
8 March 2014Queally hits Sandown target
Briar tops Bartlett contenders
Calipto leads Triumph hopefuls
Ginge fires burn brightly for Neild
Creek forced out of Gold Cup
Milan targeting Final glory
McCoy to miss Sunday and Monday
Exchange rate pays dividend
Temps doubtful for Festival
Conor settles in at Cheltenham
De Bromhead sweet on Special
Epsom to honour St Nick
Mullins dominates JLT entries
Al and Dynaste top Ryanair field
Big two lead World possibles
7 March 2014Lockinge target for Tonto
All set for a super Saturday
Silver aiming to shine
Imperial only thought for Honeyball
Distance fears for Highland
Montiridge preps for Dubai trip
Ayr gets go-ahead
Ayr delay inspection decision
Benbulben misses Cheltenham
Card 'gut wrencher' for Tizzard
Guard stands tall for new record
Faugheen looms over Neptune field
Ballycasey stands firm in RSA
Sire spearheads Queen Mother list
Australia still in Derby shake-up
Henderson perfectly happy with Tent
Regal leads the way in Imperial