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JLT Novices' Chase
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Cheltenham 13:30
Grade 1, £130,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 3f 198y, Class 1    
Thursday 17th March 2016

1 Black Hercules 4/1
2 Bristol De Mai 4/1
3 L'Ami Serge 8/1
NR: King's Odyssey (IRE)
9 ran Distances: 3l, 1l, 1¼l
TIME 4m 55.20s (slow by 4.20s)

The unstoppable Ruby Walsh celebrates his 50th Cheltenham Festival winner aboard Black Hercules

Paddy Power, Bet Victor, Skybet & Ladbrokes are all refunding stakes on Zabana, who unseated Davy Russell at the start

Black Hercules
© Caroline Norris
Black Hercules

Ruby Walsh's victory was his 50th at The Festival, and his fifth of this year's meeting. He leads the all-time roll of honour of jockeys at The Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained 4-1 co-favourite was headed going to the second-last fence and hampered by L'Ami Serge, but fought back after the final obstacle to win by three lengths from Bristol De Mai.

Walsh said: "He jumped super, travelled really well and dug really deep when I needed him to. He was tough. L'Ami Serge quickened by me two fences out but he threw his chance away a little bit when he dived remarkably to his left and jumped straight across me.

"My horse was very clever - he almost stalled himself in the air so he didn't land on the back of L'Ami Serge. When I got out around him again, my horse rattled down to the last. We were a bit a tight but he was very nimble at it unlike Navan, when he only got halfway up.

"Today, when he had to get in close at speed, he knew how to get his knees up and get over it. He galloped every step of the way to the line.

"He has a good cruising speed. There's a difference between pace and speed but he has a a big cruising speed. Willie decided to drop him back because he has an awful lot of pace - he likes to get on with it and could do too much in the four-miler.

"I think Patrick and Emmett Mullins had him as a point-to-pointer and Graham and Andrea [Wylie] bought him off the lads after they had won a point-to-point with him, but chasing was always going to be his game. "This time last year, when he got ran over in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, we were thinking where we were going to go with him, so to come back and win a JLT is just great.

"How would you ever think you were going to ride 50 winners here? When I drew level with Pat Taaffe that was a dream come true, so to get to 50 is incredible, but you can't get here without having the horses. I was very lucky to spend so long riding for both Paul [Nicholls] and Willie, and now to have Willie's team as well. It doesn't matter how good a jockey you are, if you don't have the horses you can't ride the winners."

Owner Graham Wylie said: "He was touted for the four-miler, but Willie got it right because he wouldn't settle. He was great today but his stamina held out, I thought he was beaten at the second-last.

"We had a great day yesterday with every emotion. We had a winner (Yorkhill), a second we weren't expecting (Shaneshill) and a faller at the last when it looked like he was going to win (Voix Du Reve) and then one just beaten in the bumper. Any winner and you're happy, though.

"Willie buys good horses, that's the most important thing, and then he places them in the right races and his whole team work tirelessly."

Mullins continued: "I thought he was a stayer at first, but he showed a lot of speed when he won at Navan. The better ground has probably been a big help to him as well.

"Ruby's first ever ride for me was in a 19-runner bumper and he came from last to first and I said then he was the future - 50 winners is fantastic, he's always in the right place.

"I don't know where this horse will go now."

Mathematician Betting

JLT Novices' Chase
(Registered as The Golden Miller Novices' Chase)
Grade 1, £130,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 198y, Class 1
9 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Black Hercules (IRE) 4/1c R Walsh
11-4
W P Mullins 7
2nd 3 Bristol De Mai (FR) 4/1c D A Jacob
11-4
N A Twiston-Davies 5
3rd 1 L'Ami Serge (IRE) 8/1 Nico de Boinville
11-4
N J Henderson 6
4th Three Musketeers (IRE) 8/1 Harry Skelton
11-4
D Skelton 6
5th 12 As De Mee (FR) 20/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
11-4
P F Nicholls 6
6th 23 Mount Gunnery 50/1 D J Mullins
11-4
P A Fahy 8
NR King's Odyssey (IRE) 16/1 Paul Moloney
11-4
Evan Williams 7
Also Ran: Garde La Victoire (FR) , Outlander (IRE) , Zabana (IRE)

Previous results - JLT NOVICES’ CHASE

2015-VAUTOUR 6-11-04 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/4 Fav
2ND-Apache Stronghold 7-11-04 Owner-Patricia Hunt; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD-Valseur Lido 6-11-04 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-9/2
8 ran, Time-4m 46.30s Dist-15, sh

2014-TAQUIN DU SEUIL 7-11-04 Owner-Martin Broughton & Friends 1; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-7/1
2ND-Uxizandre 6-11-04 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-33/1
3RD-Double Ross 8-11-04 Owner-Options O Syndicate; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-11/1
12 ran, Time-4m 56.72s Dist-¾, 1¼ 7/2 Fav Felix Younger (4th)

2013-WINNER-BENEFFICIENT 7-11-04 Owner-Adrian Shiels & Niall Reilly; Trainer-Tony Martin IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-20/1
2ND-Dynaste 7-11-04 Owner-John White; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-11/8 Fav
3RD-Changing Times 7-11-04 Owner-C J Haughey; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-100/1
13 ran, Time-5m 4.80s Dist-3¼, 1

2012-WINNER-SIR DES CHAMPS 6-11-04 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-3/1
2ND-Champion Court 7-11-04 Owner-Martin Boothwright; Trainer-Martin Keighley; Jockey-Alain Cawley; SP-8/1
3RD-For Non Stop 7-11-04 Owner-Chris Giles & Jared Sullivan; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-8/1
10 ran, Time-4m 52.80s Dist-4½, 9

2011-WINNER-NOBLE PRINCE 7-11-04 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Paul Nolan IRE; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-4/1
2ND-Wishfull Thinking 8-11-04 Owner-Diana Whateley; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-7/2 Fav
3RD-Loosen My Load 7-11-04 Owner-Alan & Ann Potts Partnership; Trainer-Henry De Bromhead IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-15/2
11 ran, Time-4m 49.82s Dist-4, 5

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