Mildmay Novices' Chase Friday 8th April 2011 

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Quito De La Roque Wins Mildmay Thriller

1 Quito De La Roque 6/1
2 Sarando 50/1
3 Golan Way 8/1
8 ran Distances: nk, 2¾l, 4½l
TIME 6m 20.20s (slow by 11.20s)

Connections were full of praise for Quito De La Roque after the seven-year-old fought off Sarando to take the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase by a neck from Sarando.

Quito De La Roque
© Grossick Racing Photography

Quito De La Roque

The seven-year-old, who was bought privately by owner Michael O’Leary after winning a point-to-point in Ireland, made a mistake at the second last but was nursed back to score in the style of a top-class prospect.

“He was an unknown on this ground but we had no choice all winter but to run him on heavy ground. But he did win a point-to-point a couple of years ago when it was fast ground,” said winning trainer Colm Murphy. “All credit to Davy and all credit to the horse - all he wants to do is gallop and try for you.

“He’s not totally straightforward and would pull himself up in a stride but he has a big engine in there and he will keep digging and he has the right man on board.

“I am not sure where we will go next. We’ll let the dust settle and he’ll certainly have an entry at Punchestown but we’ll talk to Eddie (O’Leary) and Michael.

“He is one to look forward to next year but I’ll let him do the talking. He’s still only a novice and would have to improve to be a Gold Cup horse but we couldn’t be happier today.

“He’s still a big, backward raw horse and he’s not been over-raced this year. We’ve nursed him along with the hope that he could be a nice horse.”

Jockey Davy Russell, who is retained by owner Michael O’Leary, added: “It was tough work out there. Every time that I asked him, he was nearly trying too hard for me. When I gave him a squeeze for a jump, he overjumped - like he did at the second last, when he stuck his head up, landed, got himself together and then tried again for me. It probably looked worse that it was but he just caught me bouncing back up.

“He’s a credit to Colm and there was no point complaining about him not going on the ground because we didn’t know. We worked him before Cheltenham on a woodchip gallop and we were quite happy but we weren't sure he'd handle the undulations of Cheltenham, so we decided to come here - he was always going to try better ground once.

“From his first race until now, all we have seen from him is 100 per cent improvement and I don’t think he’s reached his full potential yet. I think everything is in front of him.

“He has only run once in a Grade One, when he was beaten by a horse of Jessica Harrington’s, but he made a bad mistake and I wasn’t hard on him afterwards that day. I think he’s definitely a Grade One horse.

“We wanted to try him on good ground against more experienced horses today to see where we stood with him.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Quito De La Roque
C A Murphy
D N Russell
11st 4lbs
6 - 1
P R Webber
W Kennedy
11st 4lbs
50 - 1
Golan Way
Miss S West
L Aspell
11st 4lbs
8 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Wayward Prince
Ian Williams
A P McCoy
11st 4lbs
7 - 4
4 1/2 lengths
N J Henderson
Felix de Giles
11st 4lbs
11 - 1
1 1/2 length
Master Of The Hall
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 4lbs
9 - 2
Pulled Up
Robinson Collonges
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 4lbs
15 - 2
The Giant Bolster
D G Bridgwater
T Scudamore
11st 4lbs
15 - 2



Few horses will be braver in defeat at Aintree this week than Golan Way, who attempted to make all the running in the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase before finishing third.

Golan Way
© Grossick Racing Photography

Golan Way

Passed in the straight by the winner, Quito de la Roque, and runner-up Sarando, Golan Way kept fighting back and fully deserved a decent share of the prize money. He had jumped right at a couple of fences, and banked at least one jump, but was given a brave and positive ride by limpet Leighton Aspell.

Golan Way’s trainer, Sheena West, said: “He made a couple of quite bad errors, but full credit to the horse for he seemed to say, ‘I’m not going to do that again’.

“He’s always tended to jump right, which is partly why we ran him at Kempton and Huntingdon, but I think it was the mistakes that cost him the race rather than jumping right. Punchestown [which is a right-handed course] has always been in the back of the mind, and since he had January and February off and is just getting fit now that is still the plan.

“I’ve always thought this was his trip. He’s incredibly slow at home, but he has so much stamina – I have a dream in the back of my head that in a couple of years’ time he might be a National horse. He’s stayed the extended trip today.

“Leighton came down and schooled the horse recently and gave him a great ride – I’m really pleased.”



Nobody gave Sarando a prayer of causing an upset, but the 50/1 outsider justified the faith of his enthusiastic band of owners, Eight Men & A Hoss, when producing a career best performance to be beaten only a neck by Irish raider Quito de la Roque in the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

The race was littered with jumping errors, but Sarando never put a foot wrong and it was only in the last 50 yards that he had to give best to his classier opponent.

Jockey Will Kennedy said: ”Sarando has run a blinder and his jumping kept him in there,” while trainer Paul Webber praised the horse’s attitude.

Webber said: ”Sarando is such a great little jumper. He was unlucky at Uttoxeter last time as he tripped up three strides after the fence, and had I had my way I would have slipped away quietly and gone for a little race at Southwell.

“However, the owners are a great bunch, and they persuaded me to come here for the big one, and they have been proved right. We always thought that he was a mudlark and this is the fastest ground that he has run well on, so, while the plan was to put him away, we might have one more roll of the dice if he comes out of this ok.”

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