Riverside Theatre ended a 364-day lay-off from the track by winning the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase in the feature race on the card from Ascot.
Nicky Henderson’s eight-year old put himself in contention for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive performance, after a strong morning gamble on the runner from 9/4 to his starting price of 18/8. Those betting online will have to keep an eye on him.
His last run was in the same race 12 months ago when he beat Gauvain by 10 lengths before breaking his pelvis which ruled him out of the 2011 Festival and the rest of the calendar year.
This time around there was only Medermit who looked a real challenger to Riverside Theatre in the closing stages. Alan King’s runner did try to close on the defending champion, but could never get closer than two lengths.
Kauto Stone led for most of the 2m5f trip but struggled for stamina in the closing stages and dropped back to finish seventh, whilst Little Josh was forced to pull up by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies after the strong early gallop. He will have attracted plenty of bets.
Ryanair Chase favourite Rubi Light was also in action on Saturday at Gowran Park as he put in his final preparation run before the Cheltenham Festival with victory in the Grade Two five runner contest. Andrew Lynch rode the 2/5 favourite home 16 lengths ahead of Chicago Grey, with Apt Approach a further place back in third. The seven-year old did make a mistake two from home, but at the stage he had the race tied up after making every yard of the running at the Irish track.