Happygolucky showed stamina is his forte as he returned to winning ways in the International Decorative Surfaces Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
Appearing to appreciate the step up to three miles for the first time under rules, the Kim Bailey-trained six-year-old went one better than his previous start at Fakenham by adding to his debut success over fences at Stratford.
Moving into a decisive advantage between the last two fences, the 13-8 favourite, who finished fourth in the Martin Pipe at the Festival in March, kept on gamely to hold the fast-finishing The Mighty Don by three and three-quarter lengths.
Bailey said: “I think the other horse (Getaway Trump) was on a going day at Fakenham. We jumped the last and the rail wasn’t by the fence and he hung to the left and that is what cost him the race at Fakenham.
“I’m very pleased as he jumped very well. He is a proper trainer’s horse as he is not very big, but just a very athletic individual.
“He got there far too soon. He got a long one at the third last and landed in front, which he shouldn’t have done. He was committed really and he got lonely in front. He has done well.”
Assessing future plans, Bailey hopes Happygolucky, who was introduced at 33-1 for the National Hunt Chase by SkyBet, will return to the Festival in March.
He added: “I’d certainly like to be here back in March, what in I don’t know. He would stay as long as you want probably. A lot will depend on what the ground is like.
“There are a lot of very good horses around and he is probably not quite in that (former RSA Chase) league yet. I think he is probably happier left handed, so there are plenty of nice races to look at.”
Make Me A Believer (16-5) demonstrated a tenacious attitude on his first start since undergoing a wind operation to deny the hat-trick seeking Any News by a length in the British EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
Pipe said: “We’ve always thought he was a nice horse. He was beaten by a good horse at Lingfield first time out and he has had a wind op since.
“What I liked today was that he looked beat, but he fought back. I would imagine he would probably be going back up in trip. He has got a nice bit of ability and he looks to have a good attitude there.
“He will be back at the Festival one year, whether it is next year I don’t know.”