Raymylette rallies

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The Independent Online
RayMylette showed class and courage here yesterday to win the feature race, the Betterware Cup Handicap Chase, and confirm himself as a credible contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The seven-year-old gelding, owned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber an d his wife Madeleine, made every yard of the running to beat the back-to-form Dubacilla a length and a quarter.

Raymylette is, in the words of his trainer Nick Henderson, quirky and cranky. But one thing the Irish-bred chestnut does not lack is tenacity. Henderson said: "He may be an oddball at home but he's got guts to give away. That was a proper race and he tested them all the way. They never left him alone, but he just won't let a horse past him."

Raymylette set off in front yesterday, as is his preference, and, one by one, saw off his rivals as they harried him. His brilliance in the air twice forced the Hennessy runner-up Lord Relic into errors and, swinging into the straight for the final time,the danger was Dubacilla, who had made ground from off the pace. She appeared to be going the better as the pair went to the last upsides, but Raymylette, who was getting 8lb from the mare, would not be denied. Lord Relic found his second wind and ran on strongly for third place.

Mick Fitzgerald, on board the winner, said: "I steadied to make sure at the last because he was coming under pressure, but as soon as he heard the crowd roar, that was it - he picked up and ran on again."

The step up to three miles was no problem for Raymylette, but Henderson wants to try his new star over hilly, left-handed Cheltenham before committing him to the Gold Cup, for which he is now 12-1 third favourite behind Merry Gale and Jodami with Ladbrokes.

Another youngster, Book of Music, made an impressive chasing debut in the Noel Novices Chase, disposing of odds-on favourite Martin's Lamp by 20 lengths easing up. The six-year-old, partnered by Norman Williamson, was well backed. His trainer, Kim Bailey, said: "I expected him to win, and I told everyone who asked that I did."

Last season, with Josh Gifford, Book of Music had promising hurdles form but was laid low by a virus. Bailey said: "He has always jumped brilliantly at home and Norman said his biggest problem today was staying on board, he was jumping so big."

There was compensation for David Nicholson and Adrian Maguire for Martin's Lamp and Dubacilla when Hebridean won the Long Walk Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle contender Relkeel scored with ease in the Knights Royal Hurdle.

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