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Maghull Novices’ Chase Saturday 9th April 2011 

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Finian’s Rainbow Lands Double for Henderson

1 Finian's Rainbow 10/11F
2 Ghizao 3/1
3 Dan Breen 8/1
7 ran Distances: 2l, 22l, 18l
TIME 3m 54.60s (slow by 2.60s)

Owner Michael Buckley, trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty enjoyed a quick-fire 6.6/1 double in the opening two races when Finian’s Rainbow followed the example set by Spirit Son by winning the John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase.

Finian's Rainbow
© Racehorse Photos

Finian's Rainbow

Buckley said: “Wonderful as it is - and it really is wonderful, these days are what you do it for - I always feel sad to lose a beautiful horse, as I did at Cheltenham [Lush Life].

“You can’t replace those, sadly, but this is a terrific day.”

Looking ahead to next year, he added: “I imagine we’ll have to think about the Champion Chase next year. Finian’s Rainbow is such an enthusiastic galloper that it’s hard to see him staying. Things may change, a lot of two-milers have gone on, but I would imagine that would be the natural ambition to think about. We’ll probably run in one of the good two-mile chases early in the season.

“Cheltenham was a testing time but it’s much better to be second or third than anywhere else apart from winning. It’s tough for these horses to go to Cheltenham and come here and do that. I think that both of these horses had one major advantage over the rest of Nicky’s runners here because they raced on the Tuesday of Cheltenham and today’s it is Saturday, so they have had the longest period.

“Mossley ran flat yesterday but you take a lot more out of yourself over three miles and he ran at the end of the week (at Cheltenham), so he had less time to get over it.

“Barry said that Finian’s Rainbow wasn’t in quite the same form as he was at Cheltenham but I think that he is always going to be a horse who takes a lot out himself because he is so enthusiastic.

“I keep hearing people saying that he is not a very good jumper but his biggest problem is that he is so exuberant and love jumping so much that he takes a lot out of himself. I wouldn’t think that he would be a horse who would race within two weeks of each race.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t start off with the Queen Mother in mind at the beginning of next season. I would imagine that he might start off in a good race like the Tingle Creek and see how he gets on.

“I told Anthony Bromley that if Spirit Son beat Cue Card convincingly, people would say that he was the best novice hurdler of the season. I saw a replay of the Supreme Novices’ and the Champion Hurdle in a split screen and they went some gallop in the novice race.

“Both horses ran good times, so you would have to be hopeful that they would make it into top-drawer horses.”

Fininan’s Rainbow is now 9/1 for next year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase with Stan James and 10/1 with Paddy Power.


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Finian's Rainbow
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 4lbs
10 - 11
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 4lbs
3 - 1
2 lengths
Dan Breen
D Pipe
J M Maguire
11st 4lbs
8 - 1
22 lengths
A Fleming
A P McCoy
11st 4lbs
9 - 2
18 lengths
J M Jefferson
G Lee
11st 4lbs
22 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
Mrs A M Thorpe
S Twiston-Davies
11st 4lbs
50 - 1
70 lengths
Classic Fly
A J Whiting
Peter Toole
11st 4lbs
100 - 1



© Grossick Racing Photography


Trainer Paul Nicholls had to be content with the runner-up spot after the John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase.

His Ghizao, who runs for owners the Johnson & Stewart Families, reached for the second-last fence and lost impetus on landing, ending what had looked a serious challenge to winner Finian's Rainbow.

Nicholls said: "Ruby [Walsh] said that he would have won had he not made that mistake at the second-last - it cost him the race. If the horse is all right he might go to Punchestown."

David Pipe, trainer of third-placed Dan Breen, said: "The first two were the form horses and mine ran as well as could be expected. We came to pick up a bit of prize money and it was a good run.

"He likes good ground so we'll probably keep him going. We've got the options of Punchestown, Sandown or Ayr."

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