Top Novices' Hurdle Friday 8th April 2011 

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Topolski Top of the Novices

1 Topolski 11/2
2 Oilily 14/1
3 Sire De Grugy 9/2F
NR: Empire Levant (USA), Little Hercules (IRE)
13 ran Distances: ¾l, 6l, 7l
TIME 3m 59.70s (slow by 4.70s)

Topolski retained his unbeaten record over hurdles with a battling victory in the John Smith’s Top Novices’ Hurdle and the five-year-old may now return to the Flat this summer.

© Racehorse Photos


His trainer David Arbuthnot said: “He’s been a revelation. He’s not a big horse at all but he’s learned to jump well and he’s very quick at his hurdles.

“I thought I might be slightly overfacing him here but he’s proved me wrong and I’m glad about that.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, he added: “He’ll now have a rest and then he’ll come back for a decent handicap like the Old Newton Cup or possibly the November Handicap, but now we’ve got to think seriously about his hurdles’ career. It’s not silly to say he might make a Champion Hurdle horse.”

Winning jockey Daryl Jacob said: “I’m delighted for David and the owners. David has had a great year and his horses have been running very well. It’s great for him to pick up a good one at the end of the year.

“It was a monstrous task for him [Topolski] stepping up today but he has proved today that he’s good. We pretty much sprinted from turning in and he’s not very big but he’s very gutsy, like a terrier.

“We were maybe at the front a little bit too soon. I had to go and attack as I had five lengths to make up on the runner-up in the straight but he’s got a great turn of foot.”

In tomorrow’s John Smith’s Grand National, Jacob resumes his partnership with Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth What A Friend.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow - he’s got a great chance and he’s come out of the Gold Cup really well. I’ve schooled him a few times since then and Paul’s [Nicholls] horses are in great form.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
D W P Arbuthnot
D Jacob
11st 4lbs
11 - 2
S Byrne
A D Leigh
10st 11lbs
14 - 1
3/4 length
Sire De Grugy
G L Moore
J E Moore
11st 4lbs
9 - 2
6 lengths
Mrs L Wadham
D Elsworth
11st 4lbs
7 - 1
7 lengths
Desert Cry
D McCain Jnr
J M Maguire
11st 4lbs
7 - 1
2 lengths
Perfect Smile
N Meade
P Carberry
11st 4lbs
8 - 1
P F Nicholls
Nick Scholfield
10st 12lbs
40 - 1
3 lengths
P Griffin
A Tinkler
11st 4lbs
80 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
10st 12lbs
7 - 1
1/2 length
A Media Luz
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
10st 5lbs
8 - 1
4 lengths
S Gollings
R P Flint
11st 4lbs
50 - 1
1 length
First In The Queue
N J Henderson
A P McCoy
10st 12lbs
18 - 1
10 lengths
Pulled Up
A King
R Thornton
11st 4lbs
33 - 1
Non Runner
Little Hercules
J Howard Johnson
B Hughes
11st 4lbs
Non Runner
Empire Levant
P F Nicholls
Harry Skelton
10st 12lbs



County Kildare handler Sean Byrne nearly had a dream result with his first ever runner in Britain when Oilily finished runner-up in the Grade Two John Smith’s Top Novices’ Hurdle, beaten three quarters of a length.

“She just made a bit of a mistake, which knocked her back but she was coming back after that,” said Byrne, who has just eight horses in training. “I think the winner is pretty good so it’s brilliant to be second here with our first runner over here.

“This mare has never been out of the first two, she’s so tough, and she’ll probably go to Punchestown now and could also run at the Galway Festival.”

Jamie Moore assured the band of owners surrounding Sire de Grugy that they still had a decent prospect, despite the fact that the 9/2 favourite, who had rattled off three wins on the spin, could finish only third in the opener.

Moore said: “Sire de Grugy has run a super race, especially as that was not his ground. He is at his best when the mud is flying and it had dried out too much.

“He hit the second hurdle, but he never stopped trying. He is still just a baby, whereas the winner is a useful stayer on the Flat, and I have certainly not lost faith in our fellow. He has so much scope and will make a chaser one day.”

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