The race could not have gone better for horse and jockey, who has taken jump racing by storm since turning professional three months ago. It was his fourth win from six starts for Lavelle and she said he rode with the “innocence of youth – unencumbered by the knowledge of what can go wrong”.
Jones settled De Rasher Counter just behind the leaders, took up the running leaving the back straight five fences out and, from thereon, began to make the most of his way home.
After jumping the last fence four lengths clear, his biggest threat came from the 20-1 shot The Conditional, who finished with a wet sail, although he was never going to spoil the jockey’s celebrations as he crossed the line. Elegant Escape, last year’s runner up and this year’s top-weight ran a terrific race in third, with Beware The Bear fourth.
“I’m so proud of everyone, that we’ve been able to get this horse ready for the big day, it’s close to home, it’s so special for everyone,” said Lavelle. “We’ve got amazing owners [the Makin’ Bacon Partnership] who are prepared to be patient. We could have gone to Cheltenham last spring but, mentally, he wasn’t ready. They were prepared to wait. I’m glad it came off because it so often doesn’t.