Leading owners Paul and Clare Rooney are blessed with one of the most reliable horses in training in the nine-year-old Master Dee who has failed to finish out of the first three in twenty starts ( twenty two if you include a couple of point to point starts ) prior to taking part in Kempton’s £100,000 Betdaq Handicap Chase on Saturday afternoon. The Fergal O’Brien-trained son of King’s Theatre has threatened to win a decent prize for some time and with the significant booking of top Irish rider Barry Geraghty the gelding was finally rewarded for his consistency with an impressive victory in the three mile contest.
Fifteen horses went to post for the race formerly known as the Racing Post Chase with the lightly-raced Acting Lass sent off the 7-2 favourite ahead of 5-1 chance Tintern Theatre with Master Dee third-best in the betting at 8-1. Held up in the early stages, Geraghty gradually made his way through the field and swept into the lead with a bold jump at the final fence, putting three and three quarter lengths between himself and game runner-up Ballykan passing the post.
A delighted O’Brien ( like his namesake Aidan O’Brien ) was quick to pay tribute to the team around him, saying: “ Barry gave him a great ride but he had the horse underneath him. We could have gone to Ascot last week but the owners stuck by me and gave me the confidence to wait and come here and I’m delighted for Paul and Clare. He’s an unbelievable horse and has never been out of the first three. He’s a model of consistency and even when things are not going his way he sticks his head down and tries
A top price 16-1 with Ladbrokes and Betfair Sportsbook for the Brown Advisory Plate at the festival, Master Dee is more likely to bypass Cheltenham, of which O’Brien explained: “ I’ve got to speak to Paul and Clare but Barry thought perhaps Cheltenham wouldn’t be his track, which is what we’ve always thought. We’ll enjoy today first but possibly Aintree could be the next target.”