Jamie Bargary makes a big splash as Ginge romps to victory
Jamie Bargary proved an able, last-minute deputy as he drove Splash Of Ginge to victory in the BetBright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
Called up after Ryan Hatch suffered a suspected broken collarbone following a fall in the previous race, Bargary took his chance with both hands to land the biggest success of his fledgling career.
Nigel Twiston-Davies's charge had looked unlucky when falling on his previous start on this track and made amends in great style.
Always travelling sweetly, Splash Of Ginge (9-2 favourite) took the lead from Hunt Ball at the second last and kept on strongly to beat that rival by three and a quarter lengths.
Bargary said: "I can't say how sorry I am for poor Ryan, he had a great day ahead of him.
"To miss the ride on this lad, who is so special to him (after he won the Betfair Hurdle), he's now very special to me, too.
"I jumped off in a lovely position early on and he was tanking with me, when we came down to the last I think he gave it about two foot."
Twiston-Davies said: "Although it was only his sixth winner, Jamie is very good as he showed with a faultless display of jockeyship on his first ride without his 10lb claim.
"It will now be back to the novice route and the JLT is the one. I suppose Ptit Zig will be shaking in his shoes to hear that."
Ptit Zig had earlier boosted his claims for that race at the Festival by taking his 100% record to four with a clear-cut success in the Grade Two BetBright Novices' Chase.
Paddy Power cut Ptit Zig to 5-1 from 8-1 for the JLT.
Rock On Ruby has been cut to a best priced 14-1 to become the first Champion Hurdle winner in over 50 years to also land the Ladbroke World Hurdle after giving favourite Vaniteux weight and a comprehensive beating in the Dornan Engineering Hurdle.
Trainer Harry Fry confirmed: "We'll have to enter him for the World Hurdle.
"We won't know if he stays until we try but he won't run in the Cleeve. We don't need to try beforehand and I'd rather bring him back here in March a fresh horse."