Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 15:10
2m 4f 56yds, Class 1
|Sunday 1st January 2017|
1 Agrapart 16/1
2 L'Ami Serge 2/1F
3 Cole Harden 7/1
NR: Leoncavallo (IRE), Old Guard, Protek Des Flos (FR)
6 ran Distances: hd, 7l, 6l
TIME 5m 11.30s (slow by 24.30s)
Agrapart beats L'Ami Serge under Lizzie Kelly
Kelly must have thought it was going to be easy as she cruised into the lead just into the home straight, but Daryl Jacob was going even better on the 2/1 favourite L'Ami Serge.
He went two lengths clear at one point, but the famous hill claimed yet another victim as Kelly galvanised Agrapart (16/1) to give the only female to have recorded a Grade One victory in Britain another notable success.
It has been a rather quiet spell for Kelly's step-father and trainer Nick Williams, but the pair have started 2017 in the best fashion with a double after Coo Star Sivola's success earlier on the card.
Kelly, riding just her third winner of the season, told ITV Racing: "I made the decision to go back home, we've got a lot of good horses and we just needed a bit of luck - today we've had it.
"This horse is a legend, I knew he had a great shout, we came in quietly at 16/1 but the way he won the Betfair I knew he'd stay further and it's rained all day, which was always going to suit him.
"We'd like to think he might stay three miles, maybe the Stayers' Hurdle, you never know.
"It's been a tough season and I'm just glad we've come here today and the hard work of everyone has paid off."
Williams said: "I don't know where we go next, he's very much ground dependent as all his wins have been on heavy.
"The reason we came here was to see if we could step him up for the World (Stayers') Hurdle.
"I think he's a stayer on good to soft ground, we'll probably go up in trip, he won't go backwards in trip and we'll point towards the Stayers' Hurdle."
He added: "It's fantastic, we haven't been winning many races recently, so it's fantastic we've had two winners today.
"It was a brilliant ride by Lizzie, she's very, very strong in a finish. She's won a lot of photos against very strong jockeys and any thoughts of her not being strong enough in a finish are rubbish."
Nicky Henderson said of L'Ami Serge: "I don't think he did anything wrong, it looks like he enjoyed hurdling and I'm entitled to stay hurdling now.
"He ran like the best horse and didn't do anything wrong, he travelled to me like a two-miler. He doesn't look like a stayer and I don't imagine he'll be going any further."
Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2)
£40,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 56yds, Class 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Agrapart (FR) 16/1||Lizzie Kelly
|2nd||hd||L'Ami Serge (IRE) 2/1f||D A Jacob
|N J Henderson||7|
|3rd||7||Cole Harden (IRE) 7/1||R Johnson
|4th||6||Lil Rockerfeller (USA) 11/4||T E Whelan
|N B King||6|
|5th||23||Camping Ground (FR) 11/2||Aidan Coleman
|UR||Adrien Du Pont (FR) 6/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|
|NR||Old Guard 8/1||P F Nicholls||6|
|NR||Leoncavallo (IRE) 25/1||B Pauling||5|
|NR||Protek Des Flos (FR) 12/1||N J Henderson||5|