Crabbie's Top Novices' Hurdle
|Grade 2, Aintree 14:20
2m 103y, Class 1
|Friday 7th April 2017
1 Pingshou 16/1
2 Mount Mews 9/4JF
The Unit 7/1
9 ran Distances: 4½l, 2½l, 1¼l
Time: 4m 3.20s (slow by 10.20s)
Pingshou wins the Top Novices' Hurdle!
Jockey Robbie Power recorded his first winner as retained rider for owners Alan and Ann Potts when Pingshou defied odds of 16/1 to land the Grade One Crabbie's Top Novices' Hurdle by four and a half lengths.
The seven-year-old was well-beaten in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle
at the Cheltenham Festival last month but put in a much better performance for trainer Colin Tizzard this afternoon.
Power admitted that he had ridden the winner at Tizzard's yard last week and secretly fancied his chances coming into this race.
"I sat on him at Colin's last week and I loved him," said the jockey.
"I said to Colin that whatever he did this year would be extra as he's going to make a lovely chaser. He's come right in his coat - fair play to Aidan Coleman as he looked after him when his chance had gone at Cheltenham and we had a fresh horse to come here with.
"His chance was gone coming to the second last at Cheltenham so Aidan looked after him and it's done him good here. He was able to run fresh and well."
"I never felt in any danger - I could not believe it. I was in the box seat the whole way and the race just worked out perfectly.
"I have been having a great run the last month or so and long may it continue, but you take it one day at a time in this game."
Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 103y, Class 1
||Pingshou (IRE) 16/1
||R M Power
|C L Tizzard
||Mount Mews (IRE) 9/4j
|J M Jefferson
||The Unit (IRE) 7/1
||High Secret (IRE) 12/1
|P F Nicholls
||River Wylde (IRE) 9/4j
||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson
||Moon Racer (IRE) 4/1
||American Gigolo 50/1
||N D Fehily
|C J Mann
||Bulkov (FR) 100/1
||Chti Balko (FR) 28/1
||W T Kennedy
|D McCain Jnr
JEFFERSON MEWSES FUTURE PLANS WITH MOUNT
Malcolm Jefferson was pleased with the run of 9/4 joint-favourite Mount Mews who finished a staying-on four and a half-length second.
Settled in mid-division throughout the extended two mile contest, the seven-year-old son of Presenting made good headway in the home straight but was unable to catch Colin Tizzard's runaway winner who led throughout. Alan King's The Unit (7/1) was a further two and a half-lengths back in third.
Jefferson said: "He is a nice horse. They probably went too slow for him really. On better ground, the quicker they went, the better he would've been.
"The winner's got first run on him but there's nothing Brian could've done. He is a horse that finishes his races, but when a horse gets three or four lengths ahead here they are difficult to get back. I'm very happy with him.
"He has had a marvellous season so you can't complain. He's finished second but he hasn't let us down here or all season.
"I think he is a very nice horse and he doesn't mind which ground really as he also handles soft so he is a horse we can save for the winter and then go from there.
"This is only his first full season. He was a green sort when he started but he has matured as the season has gone on."
Jefferson thinks highly of the gelding and is targeting Grade One honours over hurdles again next season, rather than going chasing. He continued: "I don't think he'll go over fences. I'm going to train him as a hurdler because I think he can be a nice hurdler.
"He isn't the biggest horse in the world but as he grows up he will get better. We probably might go to the Fighting Fifth Hurdle with him but we can always go novice chasing in the spring if we wanted to.
"If he can be a good hurdler, I will keep him over hurdles. He has six races now this season and every time they win it always takes a little bit out of them but we are happy with him and he can have his summer holiday now."
Trevor Hemmings, owner of the second, said: "We let the winner get too far away before we tried to pull it back. We didn't expect him to stay on like that out in front but never mind, that's all part of learning."
Brian Hughes, rider of Mount Mews, commented: "He ran well, a bit green, looking at the stands on the run in, but he has run well."
BEATEN, BUT THE UNIT REMAINS A HORSE OF PROMISE
Alan King took defeat with good grace following The Unit's excellent effort to finish third on his first start in Grade One company.
A fine, big horse, still only six-years-old and with giving rise to hopes of achieving more in the future, The Unit is likely to be a very exciting novice chaser next season - no wonder King could put on a smile as he pondered his horse's performance.
King, who is based near Marlborough in Wiltshire, said: "This was a big step up for him, and he has been running well in lesser grades and handicaps, but coming up to a Grade One I think he's done very well. The gallop wasn't strong enough for him, but we're not using that as an excuse.
"Probably on the evidence of this run he wants two and a half miles - he could possibly go to Punchestown, but otherwise that will be him finished for this season. Whatever happens he will go chasing in the autumn.
"He's a progressive young horse - last year nothing seemed to go right for him, it was just little things that you get with young horses, but we always thought a lot of him. This season he has got his confidence back."