Buveur D’Air grinds down Petit Mouchoir to win the Top Novices’ Hurdle
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Aintree, Friday
Imagine Cruising First In The Frame Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m½f, 4yo+
BUVEUR D’AIR, no match for stablemate Altior in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight when providing trainer Nicky Henderson with his fourth win in the last five years in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
Henderson had considered running the smooth-travelling five-year-old in the EZ Trader Mersey Novices’ Hurdle on Aintree’s card on Saturday and was delighted to see his winner deny the Willie Mullins-trained pair Petit Mouchoir and Limini.
“He travelled like a good horse throughout the race,” said Henderson, who may consider sending Buveur D’Air down the Champion Hurdle route next season.
“He took a while to go past but I think he stays well.”
Limini, who won the new novice hurdle for fillies and mares at Cheltenham last month, was sent off the 11-10 favourite, but could not live with the first two, who were eight lengths clear.
Also on Friday
Aintree: Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m½f, 4yo+
BALLYOPTIC battled back to deny Bellshill in the Sefton.
Ryan Hatch was riding Ballyoptic for Nigel Twiston-Davies and the six-year-old rallied gamely to deny Bellshill and Patrick Mullins, who was standing in for the stood-down Ruby Walsh.
“The horses are flying at Nigel’s and I’m just lucky to be on them,” said Hatch. “He horse was really gutsy because I didn’t meet the last right but he’s picked up for me.”
Twiston-Davies expects there will be more to come from the 9-1 winner.
He said: “We’re lucky. Things are going well. We won this race before with Pettifour and hopefully this one can be better.”
Weatherbys Private Bank Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m1f, 4-6yo
PLACINGS for Petit Mouchoir, Limini and Bellshill and the fall of Vautour made for a disappointing day for Willie Mullins, but the trainer ended it on a high when Bacardys led home stablemate Battleford in the Grade 2 bumper.
The pair had finished behind Ballyandy in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last month and reversed form to fill the first two slots with 100-1 The Minch running a remarkable race to finish third on his debut.
He was detached early, but warmed to his task under Danny Cook and might have got even closer but for edging right late on.
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