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Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
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Grade 1, Cheltenham 13:30
£120,000 added, 4yo plus,
2m 5f 26y, Class 1    
Wednesday 16th March 2016

1 Yorkhill 3/1
2 Yanworth 11/10F
3 Its'afreebee 33/1
11 ran Distances: 1¾l, 7l, 4l
TIME 5m 0.90s (slow by 3.90s)

Yorkhill wins the Neptune, another winner for Ruby Walsh & Willie Mullins

Yorkhill
© Caroline Norris
Yorkhill

Yorkhill gave trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh their fourth winner of this year's Festival when producing a devastating turn of foot to land the spoils this afternoon.

Mullins is now the most successful trainer in this race, having now won it four times. Yorkhill's victory also gives Mullins his 45th Festival winner.

The six-year-old didn't have the easiest passage throughout the race but Walsh was determined to hug the inside rail and, when the field turned for home, the gap appeared at the right time for the pair to capitalise on.

The 3/1 second favourite got first run on the 11/10 market leader Yanworth, who was taken wide by Barry Geraghty throughout, and this proved to be decisive as the winner skipped clear on the run to the final flight. A bold jump at the last sealed the race as Yorkhill bounded up the hill to record a one and three quarter lengths victory.

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Mullins revealed after the race that he would be tempted to go down the Stan James Champion Hurdle route with the horse next season.

"Ruby gave him a super ride," said the trainer.

"He needed a bit of luck turning for home but it opened up and he managed to get through and then it was just a matter of jumping the last. He did that well and accelerated up the hill. He got to the front earlier than we would have liked but showed enough speed to get away. We had thought about going to for the Supreme Novices' with him and I had that race in mind for him all along. Then, the more I looked at it, the more I thought that he would be hard to beat in this race. If we were going to win a race with this guy, then this would be the one. We then switched Bellshill to that Supreme and then this fellow to this one. I thought Altior (winner of yesterday's Supreme Novices' Hurdle) could be better than Yanworth so that was in my mind too. The sound surface has suited too - that has helped.

"He could go novice chasing but I'd be minded now to go down the Champion Hurdle route with him. This fellow looks smart. He won the Tolworth (at Sandown) well and then looked sharp coming round the bend here. I did have chasing in mind for him but I'm not so sure now. He's a really smart hurdler. If Ruby thinks he's smart enough for that, we'll go there. He got to the front earlier than we would have liked but showed enough speed to get away. I thought Barry was closing on Yanworth but maybe Yorkhill was just idling.

"When you see the way my Champion Hurdle horses fell like flies this year - with Faugheen and Arctic Fire - it's tough racing, and I would love to have another super-sub like Annie Power. Bello Conti (finished fourth) is very inexperienced. He is the unopened package - we really didn't know how good he was and that was very good."

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Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
(registered As The Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle)
£120,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 5f 26y, Class 1
11 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Yorkhill (IRE) 3/1 R Walsh
11-7
W P Mullins 6
2nd Yanworth 11/10f B J Geraghty
11-7
A King 6
3rd 7 Its'afreebee (IRE) 33/1 Ian Popham
11-7
D Skelton 6
4th 4 Bello Conti (FR) 20/1 D J Mullins
11-7
W P Mullins 5
5th s.h Welsh Shadow (IRE) 28/1 Harry Skelton
11-7
D Skelton 6
6th ½ Vigil (IRE) 16/1 D N Russell
11-7
D K Weld 7
7th 7 A Toi Phil (FR) 8/1 B J Cooper
11-7
W P Mullins 6
8th 3 O O Seven (IRE) 20/1 A Tinkler
11-7
N J Henderson 6
9th 30 Ghost River 100/1 Sean Bowen
11-7
P Bowen 6
Also Ran: Thomas Hobson , Yala Enki (FR)

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'BETTER HORSE' BEATS YANWORTH

An apparent banker at this year's Cheltenham Festival, Yanworth lost his unbeaten hurdling record when second today.

Yanworth
© Racehorse Photos

Yanworth
Staying on from the final flight, the 11/10 favourite could not peg back the 3/1 winner Yorkhill from Willie Mullins' stable, and was beaten one and three-quarter lengths, with a further seven lengths back to third-placed Its'afreebee.

Alan King, who trains Yanworth for owner J P McManus, was not sour in defeat, admitting his six-year-old was second to an exceptional winner. King said: "They didn't go as quick as I thought they would, but I've no excuses and the better horse has won on the day. I think he must be pretty good, although our horse kept going all the way to the line.

"Going to the last the third was bang with him, and yet there was seven lengths between them at the finish.

"He'll be a chaser one day, but I won't make a decision today about next season. You have to bear in mind that's the first proper race he has had [over hurdles] and he might just improve for it. It's the first time he's had a kick in the belly."

Yanworth was very impressive on heavy ground at Cheltenham in January, but King did not feel today's quicker surface was against his horse.

Phil Cunningham is the head of Rebel Racing, which owns third-placed Its'afreebee, trained by Dan Skelton. Cunningham said: "We're just a group of friends - when Dan started last year we put a horse with him, and when that one didn't work out we took our time and found this one. He's been a super horse for us."

Best known as the owner of dual Guineas winner Cockney Rebel, Cunningham said: "I was involved in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes, but I haven't done much in Jump racing since. I love coming to The Festival, and you can tell from our reaction that it feels like we owned the winner.

"He was 50/1 this morning yet he has put us in the winner's circle - we are wondering if he might prefer a more level track after his win at Haydock, so a trip to Aintree might be next."

Previous results - NEPTUNE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT NOVICES’ HURDLE

2015-WINNER-WINDSOR PARK 6-11-07 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-9/2
2ND-Parlour Games 7-11-07 Owner-Bloomfields; Trainer-John Ferguson; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-13/2
3RD-Nichols Canyon 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
10 ran, Time-5m 7.40s; Dist-3¾, 1¼

2014-WINNER-FAUGHEEN 6-11-07 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/4 Fav
2ND-Ballyalton 7-11-07 Owner-John Westwood; Trainer-Ian Williams; Jockey-Will Kennedy; SP-20/1
3RD-Rathvinden 6-11-07 Owner-Ronnie Bartlett; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-11/2
15 ran, Time-4m 54.80s; Dist-4½, ½

2013-WINNER-THE NEW ONE 6-11-07 Owner-Sarah Such; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-7/2
2ND-Rule The World 5-11-07 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-5/1
3RD-Pont Alexandre 5-11-07 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/4 Fav
8 ran, Time-5m 16.60s; Dist-4, 4½

2012-WINNER-SIMONSIG 6-11-07 Owner-Ronnie Bartlett; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-2/1 Fav
2ND-Felix Yonger 6-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-16/1
3RD-Monksland 5-11-07 Owner-Patricia Hunt; Trainer Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-11/2
17 ran, Time-4m 59.34s; Dist-7, 11

2011-WINNER-FIRST LIEUTENANT 6-11-07 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP- 7/1
2ND-Rock On Ruby 6-11-07 Owner-The Festival Goers; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Daryl Jacob; SP-13/2 3RD-So Young 5-11-07 Owner-Mrs M McMahon; Trainer Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-2/1 Fav
12 ran, Time-5m 10.50s; Dist-sh, 41⁄2

2010-WINNER-PEDDLERS CROSS 5-11-07 Owner-Tim Leslie; Trainer-Donald McCain; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-7/1
2ND-Reve De Sivola 5-11-07 Owner-Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Daryl Jacob; SP-15/2
3RD-Rite Of Passage 6-11-07 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Mr Robbie McNamara; SP-7/2 Fav
17 ran, Time-5m 2.77s Dist-1½, 3¾

2009-WINNER-MIKAEL D'HAGUENET 5-11-07 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/2 Fav
2ND-Karabak 6-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-4/1
3RD-Diamond Harry 6-11-07 Owner-Paul Duffy Diamond Syndicate; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-4/1
14 ran, Time-5m 17.10s Dist-1¾, 3¾

2008-WINNER-FIVEFORTHREE 6-11-07 Owner-Olde Crowbars Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/1
2ND-Venalmar 6-11-07 Owner-Michael O’Flynn; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Paddy Flood; SP-11/1
3RD-Trafford Lad 6-11-07 Owner-Butler Family Syndicate; Trainer-Eamon Sheehy IRE; Jockey-Tom Doyle; SP-9/1
15 ran, Time-5m 2.20s Dist-nk, 4; 4/1 Fav Aigle D’Or (13th)

2007-WINNER-MASSINI’S MAGUIRE 6-11-07 Owner-Alan Peterson; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
2ND-Tidal Bay 6-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-10/1
3RD-Catch Me 6-11-07 Owner-J P O’Shea; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
15 ran, Time-5m 5.40s; Dist: nk, 1½; 5/2 Fav Aran Concerto (5th)

2006-WINNER-NICANOR 5-11-07 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-17/2
2ND-Denman 6-11-07 Owner-Paul Barber & Maggie Findlay; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/10 Fav
3RD-Refinement 7-11-00 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-11/2
17 ran, Time-5m 1.00s Dist: 2½, 6

2005-WINNER-NO REFUGE 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-17/2
2ND-Racing Demon 5-11-07 Owner-Camilla Radford; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-14/1
3RD-Our Ben 6-11-07 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-33/1
20 ran, Time-5m 00.00s Dist: ¾, 2½ 9/2 Jt Favs Gold Medalist (5th) & Royal Paradise (7th)

2004-WINNER-FUNDAMENTALIST 6-11-07 Owner-Gripen; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-12/1
2ND-Inglis Drever 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/4 Fav
3RD-Grey Report 7-11-07 Owner-Anne La Trobe; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-25/1
15 ran, Time-5m 1.90s, Dist-.5, 4

2003-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 5-11-07 Owner-Laurence Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Kieran Kelly; SP-6/1
2ND-Pizarro 6-11-07 Owner-Edward Wallace; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Lord Sam 7-11-07 Owner-Plain Peeps; Trainer-Victor Dartnall; Jockey-Warren Marston; SP-10/1
Coolnagorna, finished 2nd, placed last for causing interference 19 ran, Time-5m 5.70s, Dist (as they passed the post)-1¼, 1

2002-WINNER-GALILEO 6-11-07 Owner-Sharon Nelson, Allan Stennett, Terry Warner; Trainer-Tom George; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-12/1
2ND-Over The Bar 6-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-14/1
3RD-Lanzerac 5-11-07 Owner-Cleartherm Ltd; Trainer-John Harris; Jockey-Paul Flynn; SP-66/1
27 ran; Time-5m 19.70s, Dist-3½, sh; 5/1 Fav Classified (4th)

2001-Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)

2000-WINNER-MONSIGNOR 6-11-07 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/4 Fav
2ND-No Discount 6-11-06 Owner-Seamus Ross; Trainer-Charlie Swan IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-20/1
3RD-Gentle Rivage 6-11-07 Owner-Geoffrey and Donna Keeys; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; SP-50/1
14 ran, Time-4m 52.0s, Dist-8,5

1999-WINNER-BARTON 6-11-07 Owner-Stan Clarke; Trainer-Tim Easterby; Jockey-Lorcan Wyer, SP-2/1 Fav
2ND-Artadoin Lad 6-11-07 Owner-Jim Shaw; Trainer-Jenny Pitman; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-28/1
3RD-Winston Run 7-11-07 Owner-Mr & Mrs John Poynton; Trainer-Ian Williams; Jockey-Glenn Tormey; SP-100/1
18 ran, Time-5m 5.6s, Dist-9, ½

1998-WINNER-FRENCH HOLLY 7-11-07 Owner-Kieran Flood; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Andrew Thornton; SP-2/1 Fav
2ND-Torboy 8-11-07 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-8/1
3RD-Cloone Bridge 6-11-07 Owner-Kathleen Gillane; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-8/1
18 ran, Time-4m 59.7s, Dist-14, 2½

1997-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 5-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-6/5 Fav
2ND-Mighty Moss 6-11-07 Owner-Ken Hutsby; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Mr Fred Hutsby; SP-11/1
3RD-Daraydan 5-11-07 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Richard Hughes; SP-16/1
17 ran, Time-4m 58.2s, Dist-1, ¾


NEPTUNE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT NOVICES’ HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR

Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran

1996 Urubande 6-11-07 Charlie Swan Aidan O’Brien IRE Martin St Quinton 8/1 24
1995 Putty Road 5-11-07 Norman Williamson David Nicholson Lady Harris 7/1 21
1994 Danoli 6-11-07 Charlie Swan Tom Foley IRE Dan O’Neill 7/4F 23
1993 Gaelstrom 6-11-02 Carl Llewellyn Nigel Twiston-Davies Jenny Powell 16/1 19
1992 Thetford Forest 5-11-07 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Saeed Manana 7/1 27
1991 Crystal Spirit 4-10-12 Jimmy Frost Ian Balding Paul Mellon 2/1F 29
1990 Regal Ambition 6-11-07 Peter Scudamore Martin Pipe Skeltools Ltd 3/1F 22
1989 Sayfar’s Lad 5-11-07 Mark Perrett Martin Pipe Arthur Whiting 12/1 22
1988 Rebel Song 6-11-07 Simon Sherwood Oliver Sherwood Maggie Heath 14/1 25
1987 The West Awake 6-11-07 Simon Sherwood Oliver Sherwood Maggie Heath 16/1 28
1986 Ten Plus 6-11-07 Kevin Mooney Fulke Walwyn Basil Thwaites 5/2F 28
1985 Asir 5-11-07 Mr Ronnie Beggan Paul Kelleway HH Prince Yazid Saud 9/1 27
1984 Fealty 4-10-12 Seamus O’Neill Peter Brookshaw Peter Brookshaw 33/1 29
1983 Sabin Du Loir 4-10-08 Graham Bradley Michael Dickinson Brian Kilpatrick 16/1 27
1982 Mister Donovan 6-11-08 Tommy Ryan Edward O’Grady IRE J P McManus 9/2 21
1981 Gaye Chance 6-11-08 Sam Morshead Fred Rimell Mrs M Curtis 7/1 21
1980 Drumlargan 6-11-08 Tommy Ryan Edward O’Grady IRE Mary Cuddy 5/2F 27
1979 Venture To Cognac 6-11-08 Mr Oliver Sherwood Fred Winter Nat Sherwood 4/1 29
1978 Mr Kildare 5-11-07 Tommy Carmody Liam Browne IRE Owen Canty 8/11F 20
1977 Counsel Cottage 6-11-08 Sean Treacy Paddy Mullins IRE Lady Elizabeth Byng 6/1 26
1976 Parkhill 5-11-07 Dessie Hughes Mick O’Toole IRE Mrs J McGowan 4/1 21
1975 Davy Lad 5-11-07 Dessie Hughes Mick O’Toole IRE Mrs J McGowan 5/2F 20
1974 Brown Lad 8-11-08 Ron Barry Paddy Osborne IRE J Osborne 2/1F 25
1973 Willie Wumpkins 5-11-06 Pat Colville Adrian Maxwell IRE Jane Pilkington 11/1 15
1972 Even Dawn 5-11-06 Ron Hyett Katie Gaze Katie Gaze 40/1 17
1971 Midsprite 5-11-12 Macer Gifford Tom Jones Mrs Ogden Phipps 7/1 20

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