Sefton Novices' Hurdle Friday 8th April 2011 

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Saint Are Springs Sefton Surprise

1 Saint Are 33/1
2 Cantlow 28/1
3 Sparky May 4/1 Fav
19 ran

The Tim Vaughan-trained Saint Are ran out a surprise winner of the Grade One John Smith's Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree.

The 33-1 chance, beaten in a Newbury handicap on his latest appearance, travelled well in the hands of Richard Johnson and was bang there turning for home, where the hard-pulling Sparky May came to challenge after being at the back of the field.

The two of them looked to have it between them, but Sparky May's early exertions took their toll and Saint Are pulled clear for a four-length win, with Cantlow grabbing second spot late on.

Johnson said: "The longer trip has helped, but he was running very well in a decent novice hurdle when he fell a couple of runs ago. It probably took his last run just to get his confidence back.

"Tim Vaughan has freshened him up and today he was always cantering. I saw Sparky May coming. She's very good and maybe Cheltenham took the edge off her. We were able to outbattle her today."

Vaughan added: "That's my first Grade One winner and I'm absolutely delighted. It's great for the team and for everyone involved. I couldn't be happier. We were second with Beshabar and Destroyer Deployed at Cheltenham and have hit the crossbar a few times.

"We had this horse as primed as we could and we missed Cheltenham to wait for a flat, galloping track like this. We thought he was spot-on, but they've got to go and do it on the day and have enough ability, and thankfully he did.

"It's the end of the novice season and we just had to take our chance. Everything was right for him and it's paid off. He's a chaser in the making. My preference would be to put him away now. He's an exciting horse."

Trainer Pat Rodford said of Sparky May: "She's been in the horsebox for seven hours because it broke down and I had to speak to my son to get another one. We should have been here at half nine but instead we got here at one.

"You never know how much that takes out of them but she's run really well again and that'll be it for this season. We'll go the same route next year."


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Saint Are
Tim Vaughan
R Johnson
11st 4lbs
33 - 1
P R Webber
D Elsworth
11st 4lbs
28 - 1
4 lengths
Sparky May
P R Rodford
K Burke
10st 11lbs
4 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
Fists Of Fury
C Byrnes
Andrew J McNamara
11st 4lbs
25 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
Muldoon's Picnic
K C Bailey
J M Maguire
11st 4lbs
40 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
J Ewart
R McGrath
11st 4lbs
28 - 1
8 lengths
A King
R Thornton
11st 4lbs
18 - 1
6 lengths
Back In Focus
J Howard Johnson
B Hughes
11st 4lbs
8 - 1
27 lengths
Cloudy Too
Mrs S J Smith
Shane Byrne
11st 4lbs
100 - 1
14 lengths
For Non Stop
Nick Williams
D Jacob
11st 4lbs
12 - 1
37 lengths
Our Island
Tim Vaughan
T Scudamore
11st 4lbs


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