Fair Along at the Double in John Smith's Hurdle
1 Fair Along 6/1
A determined performance from Philip Hobbs' Fair Along landed the John Smith's Hurdle at Wetherby for the second year in succession under an excellent ride from regular pilot Rhys Flint.
The 6-1 chance was soon setting the pace in the Grade Two contest and remained bang there as the field took the final turn for home, with favourite Duc De Regniere and Kayf Aramis looming up as major dangers.
But Fair Along, without a victory since scoring here 12 months ago, would not be denied and fought off the latter on the run in for a length-and-a-quarter triumph.
Tidal Bay looked like dropping himself out at one stage of the race, but finished to good effect to grab minor honours in third.
"I've been waiting all summer to ride this horse today. He has a bit of a quirk but he tries his little heart out and you can't ask for more than that," said Flint.
"He only gets as high as he needs to over his hurdles but I was confident enough turning in as I knew he'd be a hard horse to pass.
"He's one of the best jumpers I've ridden over hurdles and he's the horse that really got my career going. It's quite emotional really and I can't thank the owner or the boss enough for letting me ride a horse like this."
Hobbs, speaking from Ascot, added: "I must say I thought when the others took him on down the back straight he wouldn't enjoy it, but when he got back in front he kept going well.
"He works well at home, but we took him to Exeter last week and he was very disappointing. He still goes great at home so I'm not sure whether Exeter did him any good or not, but he certainly won well."
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