Progressive Pete Continues On The Upgrade

Yorkshire-based trainer Malcolm Jefferson knows a good horse when he sees one and continues to produce the goods this term with the bang in-form who landed his second big prize in a row when coming out best in a gruelling renewal of the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park on January 21, writes Elliot Slater.

The man who handled the high-class Dato Star to win a series of major hurdles races more than a decade ago is now mulling a bid for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree in April with According To Pete who seems to better this season at the age of 11 than he has ever been before. The Accordion gelding arrived at Haydock having sprung a big surprise on his previous outing when popping up at odds of 33/1 to land the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day, bravely defeating fellow light-weight Helpston by a length. People who had placed a horse racing bet on him will have been delighted.

Raised 7lbs for that win to a mark of 142, conditional rider Harry Haynes’ mount was asked to carry considerably more weight on heavy ground at Haydock but he jumped like a buck throughout and took up the running at the 11th fence. From then on Jefferson’s charge never saw another horse, and though he was tiring going to the final fence where Consigliere was in hot pursuit, he eventually kept-on well in the bottomless conditions to hold the late finish of Pearly Steps by three-and-a-half-lengths, with Consigliere three-quarters-of-a-length further back in third.

Bookmakers have introduced According to Pete into the ante-post market for the Grand National at a general offer of 33/1, and should the ground come up testing at Aintree it would come as no surprise to see him put up a very bold show indeed.