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Boothill extended his season of excellence with a fluent victory in the Grade 2 Wayward Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Tuesday 27 December in the colours of Brian and Sandy Lambert.

He was given a beautifully patient ride by Johnny Burke who has been the making of the horse over fences. Johnny had the confidence to let Aucunrisque set a strong pace and was not in a hurry to close the gap as they turned for home. But when he did start to make his move on Boothill after jumping the second last they steadily began to reel in the leader.

Things still looked tight at the final fence but Boothill landed just ahead and kept on strongly on his way to beating Aucunrisque by a length.

It was a fine performance by a horse whose debut over fences at Exeter last winter was a write off but we kept the faith and he has earned over £100,000 in prize money as a chaser this season.

We will try to make the most of Boothill’s novice status with a trip to Doncaster likely to be next for him in the Grade 2 Lightning Novices’ Chase on January 29. He is then set to skip the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and head instead to Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

Things did not go our way at Chepstow on Tuesday where Ask Me Early was never at the races after a sluggish start in the Coral Welsh National and Hymac was touched off in the final stride in a maiden hurdle.

Ask Me Early’s display was a mystery but Hymac ran very well before being denied by a nose and finished twenty lengths clear off the third

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