British tails were up after the Randox Foxhunter last Thursday when Famous Clermont justified considerable faith by a ready 4 3/4l win over Bennys King under Will Biddick.
Since opening his account at Larkhill on New Year's Day, the eight year old has done little wrong, winning a hunter chase at Wincanton, then the Walrus Hunters at Haydock en route to the Cheltenham Foxhunter, where he finished a 10l sixth to Premier Magic. He was tracking Fier Jaguen in the same Julian Sherriff colours until that horse pecked and unshipped his rider Bradley Gibbs at the seventh.
Racing tends to run in families, and so it was here too. Trainer Chris Barber was continuing a long tradition in the sport, emulating his grandfather Richard, who won this race 14 years ago with Trust Fund.
Rider Will Biddick told the Racing Post, "I've been around for 20 seasons now and I think my first ride round here was Le Duc in 2009. I've had a few seconds and I've been knocking on the door. It's a big thing for the amateurs to win this race – here and Cheltenham are our Gold Cups. To do it is massive."
The winner will aim to return to the same race next year, but the 3 1/4m of the Cheltenham Foxhunter appears just a little too far. He looks a more likely candidate for the Stratford Foxhunter over a sharper track if his season is to continue.
Of the 27 to face the starter, 17 completed.