Kempton’s big Saturday card was designed for the leading trainers to run the rule over some Cheltenham Festival hopes, but the feature BetBright Chase allowed a less familiar name to celebrate her biggest success to date.
Caroline Keevil, who is based near Shaftesbury in Dorset, prepared Bally Legend to the minute as he stayed on strongly through the pack to lift the �100,000 Grade Three handicap at odds of 28-1.
Although not an event to attract the likes of Desert Orchid, Rhyme ‘n’ Reason or Rough Quest any more, the victory for the consistent nine-year-old was of great importance to his connections and there were tears shed in the winner’s enclosure.
“I’m still shaking – that’s my biggest winner by a long shot,” said Keevil.
“I’ve had him since a wild three-year-old. As a small trainer, you have some highs and lots of lows, but whenever I’m at my lowest ebb, Bally Legend pulls it out of the bag.
“This was the target. He is entered in the Byrne Group Plate, but Cheltenham is only two weeks away and it might be a big greedy.
“The fields around us are lakes and the gallops have been damaged, but days like this help you shrug it off.”
Jockey Ian Popham said: “Annacotty winning the Feltham here on Boxing Day was my first Grade One, but this is right up there. I’ve had a lot of problems with injury (breaking his pelvis twice) but Caroline and Martin Keighley have always stood by me.”
Paul Nicholls’ Bury Parade was shut off when challenging before the final fence and finished a length and a quarter behind.
His trainer said: “He won’t go left-handed but after running well off top-weight there, he would deserve a chance in a Grade One, maybe in the Punchestown Gold Cup.”Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines