Commodore produced a remarkable front-running display to run out a wide-margin winner of the Betfair Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
Making his first appearance since being pulled up at Wincanton in February – and having undergone wind surgery during the intervening period – the Venetia Williams-trained grey was a sight to behold in the winter sunshine at Prestbury Park.
Pressed for much of the three-and-a-quarter-mile contest by Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Santini, Commodore produced some prodigious leaps while the rest of the field trailed by several lengths.
With Santini fading from the home turn, it was left to Irish raider Mister Fogpatches to try to chase down the leader, but Commodore never looked in any real danger of being reeled in and passed the post with 15 lengths in hand.
Williams said: “It was remarkable, I have to say – such a joy to watch.
“Being a grey is quite striking, but he’s such an intelligent jumper and Charlie (Deutsch) gave him a great ride.
“His relentlessness and the accuracy of his jumping was just amazing.
“He probably benefited from only being on 10st, perhaps. But when you get in a good jumping rhythm round here, it is such an advantage.”
Deutsch said: “He’s always been a brilliant jumper and he’s a good front-runner. It suits because you can make use of him and he jumps so well.
“We got into a lovely rhythm. He’s not always the strongest finisher, but he stormed up the hill.
“I’m so delighted for his owners. He keeps running well, but hasn’t won for a while and to do it here is brilliant.”