Sam’s Adventure provided local trainer Brian Ellison with a popular win in the Vertem Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
North-east native Ellison, who was born on Northumberland Plate day, had already celebrated one big prize this season with his staying chaser, who won the Tommy Whittle at Haydock.
Unusually run in spring-like conditions this season, it certainly made for an enjoyable contest with half a dozen or more still in with a chance turning for home.
Springfield Fox had made the running, tracked by The Dutchman who was still going well when unseating Sean Quinlan just before the final bend.
Cyclop, previous winner Crosspark and Salty Boy were all in with a chance, but it was Sam’s Adventure and Crossley Tender who pulled clear.
Henry Brooke appeared to have done everything right on Sam’s Adventure, but when he got in tight to the last the 15-2 chance appeared to have thrown it away.
But to his credit Sam’s Adventure battled back and got home by three-quarters of length.
Having shown stamina is not an issue, Sam’s Adventure will have the Grand National as his aim next season – but he will not run again in this campaign.
“I thought we’d lost it at the last, I must admit,” said Ellison.
“Henry actually said it probably helped him as he didn’t want to be in front that long, but he had no option to go when he did.
“He’s been such a good horse for us. That’s his second decent pot this year, he won a decent prize at Uttoxeter last season and also won a valuable bumper at Newbury.
“He didn’t jump hurdles great, but he’s far better over fences, he’s quite clever.
“He won’t run in the Midlands National. He’s on holiday now, he’s done enough this season. The target next year might be the Grand National – if Julie (Martin, joint-owner with her husband, Phil) let’s me!
“He’ll have a nice long break, we’ll start him off about Christmas with the aim of the National, because he’s so laid back it will take him a race to get back into it.”
Ellison came very close to winning the Northumberland Plate in 2016 with Seamour who shot clear but was caught close home by Antiquarium and admitted to having a flashback.
“I could see the other horse still going well, but when we jumped the second-last I thought we’d won. Of course he then blew the last and I thought ‘not again’.
“It’s great for Phil and Julie, though, because one of their other horses, Forest Bihan, was supposed to run today but got injured this morning and that might be it for him, he might not run again.”