Befred Mildmay Novices' Chase
Grade 1, Aintree 14:50
£100,000 added,
5yo plus,
3m 149y, Class 1  
Friday 8th April 2016

1 Native River 11/2
2 Henri Parry Morgan 10/1
3 Blaklion 3/1
8 ran Distances: 3l, 3¾l, 7l
TIME 6m 27.60s (slow by 20.60s)

A terrific front running performance from Richard Johnson on Native River

Native River
© Racehorse Photos
Native River

Trainer Colin Tizzard continued a brilliant season when Native River (11/2) put in a bold front-running performance under Richard Johnson to win by three lengths.

"He ran well in the four-miler at Cheltenham so his job was going to be to make the running today, be positive and make as much as you can for as long as you can. One of his main attributes is staying," said Tizzard. "Richard Johnson was absolutely brilliant. The horse runs a bit lazy but there's nothing wrong with that, they last a bit longer. Richard had to wake him up once or twice but he was straight back into his stride. He obviously loves that ground with his lovely, low action and he's a beautiful six-year-old.

"We have good stable form at the moment. No one knows why it comes and why it goes but most of them are in really good form, and that's why he could run like that.

"We're in form so I could take him to Punchestown, I've put him in the novice there (Growise Champion Novice Chase on April 26). Next year he's going to either have to run in good handicaps off a high weight or take on Cue Card, I can't really believe I'm saying that.

"We thought he would be quite high in handicaps off 149, so that's why have kept him going and he could go to Punchestown.

"We've had a great season - I've only got 58 horses but it's getting quite addictive winning these big races.

"Next year he is going to end up in the big handicaps or taking on Cue Card and Thistlecrack - I can't believe I am saying that but it's lovely.

"It's quite addictive having these big winners. Cue Card has lasted six years and no one can take what he has done away from us. This horse is just starting off and let's hope we can keep him together for six years.

"At the beginning of last season he'd only run in one point-to-point. So we ran him in one bumper, then four or five hurdles and went chasing this year. He has climbed a mountain and this is the best he has ever run."

Befred Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
£100,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 149y, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Native River (IRE) 11/2 R Johnson
11-4
C L Tizzard 6
2nd 3 Henri Parry Morgan 10/1 Sean Bowen
11-4
P Bowen 8
3rd 3&frac34 Blaklion 3/1 Ryan Hatch
11-4
N A Twiston-Davies 7
4th 7 Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE) 6/4f T Scudamore
11-4
D Pipe 7
5th 8 Ballyalton (IRE) 20/1 B Hughes
11-4
Ian Williams 9
6th 21 Roi Des Francs (FR) 10/1 B J Cooper
11-4
W P Mullins 7
7th 15 Out Sam 16/1 G Sheehan
11-4
W Greatrex 7
Also Ran: Otago Trail (IRE)

MAI OUI! AS HENRI PUTS IN ANOTHER CRACKING PERFORMANCE

Henri Parry Morgan is a vastly-improved horse, as witnessed by another super effort when second to Native River today.

The Peter Bowen-trained eight-year-old won a Chepstow handicap chase off a mark of 122 in February, defied a 13lb rise to win the following month at Uttoxeter, and ran a blinder from a mark of 149 today - he was sent off a 10/1 shot. Refusing to give way to better-fancied rivals, he could not reach winner Native River, going down by three lengths, but finishing three and three-quarters of a length ahead of recent Festival winner Blaklion who was third. Another Festival winner, Un Temps Pour Tout, started 6/4 favourite and finished fourth.

Bowen, whose son Sean rode Henri Parry Morgan, said: "He's amazing - he's improved a stone every time he's run over fences. When he was hurdling he reached a mark of 130 tops. He beat that good horse of Emma Lavelle's [Crack Away Jack] at Southwell last year, and I thought he must have some ability, but he went off the boil a bit. We gave him a bit of time to come back, and when he saw a fence he was a different horse.

"A tongue strap has helped - he's had a breathing op - and it will stay on. The horse is happy in it and he's on the up and up.

"He looks a Grade One performer now and won't be able to run in handicaps after that. He's in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and will be able to run there off this mark with a penalty, so I should think that will be next. He really jumps and he's so quick through the air."

Sean Bowen won the Bet365 Gold Cup last year on the Paul Nicholls-trained Just A Par, who he rides in tomorrow's Crabbie's Grand National.

BLAKLION PLEASES TWISTON-DAVIES

Nigel Twiston-Davies was impressed with way last month's RSA Chase winner Blaklion equipped himself after a long season to finish third at odds of 3/1.

Twiston-Davies, said: "It was a really good run. It's not Cheltenham which certainly suited him better.

"He's had quite a few runs this season and perhaps if he had come straight here and missed the Festival he might have won it. But I'm delighted with him. He'll have a nice break over the summer and he'll be back next season."

Jockey Ryan Hatch said: "We got rolling but at the end we had nothing left. It has been a long season and he deserves a holiday now. Maybe the speed of the track didn't suit him but he travelled and jumped beautifully on it. He has still run a cracking race and we can look forward next year."

Twiston-Davies was left disappointed yesterday when his high-profile runner, The New One, fell in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle. He said: "The New One is fine after his tumble yesterday. We might now even look at the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr for him."

Sean Bowen, rider of second horse home, Henri Parry Morgan, said: "He ran a brilliant race, he travelled really well and jumped really well. What he did was keep galloping so hopefully we will have a really nice horse for next season. He might go for the Bet365 meeting at Sandown but that might come a bit soon. He has had a hard race, but he could be aimed for the Charlie Hall at Wetherby next season."

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