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Serious Operator well named for Russell and Wadge

Trained by Lucinda Russell, Wadge’s main supplier of winners, the seven-year-old had finished fifth in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last time out and was a well-backed 7-2 chance.

With Wadge, who still claims 3lb, full of confidence looking for a sixth winner in his last seven rides, he waited for the right time to kick for home and jumped the last with an advantage he held to the line, winning by a length and three-quarters.

“He’s improving, his jumping was perfect but we were a bit worried about the ground because he prefers it good to soft than soft,” said Russell.

“Halfway down the back I was thinking the ground was catching him out, but it wasn’t and he was entitled to go close based on his Lanzarote run.

“We’ll go chasing next year, he probably should have done it this year, but to be fair his hurdling is outstanding. He’ll go to Aintree now and he’ll stay around at two and a half miles, it suits him.”

On Wadge, she added: “I’m so proud of him and he’s riding with such confidence, it’s great.

“The title would be great, but it’s a fickle old world and there are two months still to go. He’s certainly riding at the top of his game.”

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