There’s a great deal to like about the Colin Tizzard-trained Hey Big Spender, a staying chaser who is clearly at the very peak of his powers at present, as he demonstrated once again at Warwick on January 14 in lugging a massive weight to victory in the Grade 3 Betfred Classic Chase over a stamina-sapping three-miles-five-furlongs in testing ground, writes Elliot Slater.

Given a fine ride by regular partner Joe Tizzard, the nine-year-old was settled at the rear of the 12-strong field as his rider concentrated on restoring his mount’s confidence that must surely have taken in dent when falling last time out at an early stage in the Welsh National at Chepstow at the end of December. Warming nicely to his task Hey Big Spender improved his position going into the final mile and came powering through (despite the steadier of 11st 12lbs) to hit the front at the final fence, then battled on bravely as the lightly weighted Fredo came home with a late surge that failed by only three-quarters-of-a-length. Fans of Stan James should bear this in mind.

A delighted Tizzard senior was fulsome in his praise of the winner who he suggested might now have a crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup if the ground was to come up soft, a race for which he is generally on offer at 66/1. Anyone looking at the BetVictor racing can’t rule him out.

A number of firms also introduced the gelded son of Rudimentary, (winner at Newcastle in November of the listed Rehearsal Chase where he outstayed The Hollinwell by a length-and-a-quarter), into the ante-post market for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 14, but Tizzard was quick to rule out any chance of his talented stayer heading to Aintree, insisting that Hey Big Spender is simply not a good enough jumper to be risked over the awesome National fences.

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