Time For Rupert revels under new pilot O'Regan

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His new partner decorously suggested that the task would have been within the competence of any jockey, but those who hired him were none the less gratified that Time For Rupert made such a proficient start under Denis O'Regan at Newbury yesterday. Ridden by Will Kennedy in all his previous races, Time For Rupert had seemed to bite off more than he could chew against Kauto Star at Haydock last month. But he made the most of a drop in grade against just three rivals for the Betfair Graduation Chase, jumping well in front and merely nudged out to hold The Giant Bolster by a couple of lengths.

O'Regan had been concerned that the tiring ground might blunt his edge in class. "But it was very straightforward," he said. "He came through with flying colours. He has a lot of class."

Paul Webber indicated that Time For Rupert will have one start before the Cheltenham Gold Cup – probably at the Festival trials day in January. "What a relief," the trainer said. "He will never win further than he has to, so I have to be very pleased."