Pete The Feat led home a terrific one-three for trainer Charlie Longsdon in the valuable 32Red Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown Park.
A good field of 16 familiar names lined up for this three-mile chase contested on rain-softened ground.
The proverbial front-runner Loose Chips was soon in front of London National winner Rocky Creek, with Gas Line Boy also prominent as the field took the first three fences at a good clip, with Shuil Royale out the back and several lengths down.
Up front, Loose Chips continued to set a good tempo from Pete The Feat to the inner and Benny’s Mist out wide, with Cloudy Too racing between these two, as the field streamed safely over the Railway Fences.
Heading to the Pond Fence for the first time, Loose Chips still had the lead, while it was noticeable that Rocky Creek had lost his place and was being niggled.
Jumping the fence in front of the stands, Loose Chips touched down in front of Cloudy Too and Benny’s Mist, with Pete The Feat to the inside and then Court By Surprise and Gas Line Boy, as the field passed the post with a full circuit left to run. Shuil Royale however was pulled up and did not set off on the final lap.
Loose Chips meanwhile, continued to jump for fun, shadowed by Cloudy Too and then came Pete The Feat, while Benny’s Mist started to back pedal and made an error and Rocky Creek started to struggle, while Wychwoods Brook was detached and soon pulled up.
Over the Railway Fences for the last time it was still Loose Chips who led from Pete The Feat and Cloudy Too, with Court By Surprise under pressure to the inside and Theatrical Star started to improve.
Three out and seven horses appeared to have it between them, with Loose Chips still grinding it out from the front but passed by Pete The Feat over the Pond Fence.
Pete for Feat turned for home in front and took the second last clear of Loose Chips and the staying on Theatrical Star.
Heading to the last, Pete The Feat led but Theatrical Star continued to close, as Loose Chips rallied.
However, Pete The Fete jumped well at the last and was kept up to his work by Aidan Coleman and the bottom weight, one of the two 13 year olds in the race, gallantly kept Theatrical Star at bay for a fabulous win.
Loose Chips was as game as ever and came home third, ahead of Gas Line Boy, to give trainer Charlie Longsdon a one-three in this race, his first victory anywhere since December 14th.
Longsdon told ITV Racing: “We haven’t had a winner since December 14, they’ve been running well but not winning so it’s a relief.
“Pete The Feat has been a legend for years, it’s the 10th win of his career.
“Loose Chips ran a blinder as well. He’s missed three weeks since his last win and only been in training 10 days.”
Coleman added: “He doesn’t ride like he’s 13, he rides like a four-year-old, you’re always trying to retain his enthusiasm.
“He just absolutely loves it. He travelled great and I loved it as well, his enthusiasm made him a pleasure to ride.
“He had a low weight so I was quite anxious to kick on turning in as I knew he’d gallop to the line.
“It’s strange, the longer the race here, the more pace there is. It’s peculiar, we all wanted to go a good gallop.
“I’d have been happy to make it but I was just as happy to sit third or fourth, it makes it a great race to ride in.”