Hey Big Spender (red hat) works his way through the field at WarwickPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Hey Big Spender comes out on top in Classic
Report: Warwick, Saturday
Betfred Classic Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) 3m 5f, 5yo+
A MASSIVE weight proved to be no hindrance to Hey Big Spender as the nine-year-old ran on strongly under Joe Tizzard for a game success.
Carrying 11st 12lb, the Colin Tizzard-trained nine-year-old had to give 10lb and upwards away to all of his 12 rivals but that did not matter as the highest-rated horse to take his chance in this race since Behrajan in 2004 came out on top.
Sent off a 14-1 chance, Hey Big Spender hit the front on the run in and then kept on to win by three quarters of a length from the fast-finishing Fredo with the 9-2 joint-favourite Strongbows Legend filling third place.
Hey Big Spender, winner of the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle two starts ago, was bouncing back to form after falling early in the Welsh National last time.
Hello Bud was sent into his customary early lead by Sam Twiston-Davies and he managed to keep in that spot until he was joined by Strongbows Legend three out.
Hey Big Spender had made gradual headway racing down the back straight for the final time but when StrongbowsLegend jumped into a lead two out, it looked like the winner, who races in the colours of Brocade Racing, would have to settle for a minor role at best.
However his never-say-die attitude paid off and he reeled in Strongbows Legend after the last with Fredo flashing home under Harry Skelton to snatch second late on.
After this latest win, Hey Big Spender's sixth in 17 starts over fences, his trainer now thinks he deserves a tilt at the biggest prize of them all.
"If the ground comes up soft he'll probably run in the Gold Cup," said Tizzard. "He will be high enough in the ratings after this and he deserves a go even if he does finish sixth or seventh."
Paddy Power gave Hey Big Spender a quote of 33-1 for the John Smith's Grand National but that race is unlikely to figure on his agenda. "He would not jump well enough for the National," added the trainer.