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."
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