Befred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase
|Grade 1, Aintree
3m 1f, Class 1
|Friday 4th April 2014|
1 Holywell 7/2
2 Don Cossack 4/1
3 Wonderful Charm 4/1
6 ran Distances: 10l, 7l, 3½l
TIME 6m 14.80s (slow by 7.80s)
A sparkling performance by Holywell saw him land the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase and stake a claim to being the season's leader in his sphere.
With RSA Chase winner O'Faolains Boy finishing well beaten in fifth, Holywell, who won the Baylis & Harding Chase at The Cheltenham Festival, improved his status as a staying novice chaser, and could be a Betfred Gold Cup contender next season.
Winning trainer Jonjo O'Neill said: "He really jumped today - he is in great shape and did everything right. It was a bit special. He's a bit of a jack the lad and needs blinkers, but he was spot on today.
"He was on 157 here and could go up a pound or two, so you would have to think about it [the Betfred Gold Cup]. He is only a little fellow and it has worried me all along how he would cope in big handicaps giving weight away. That was the best he has jumped and he [jockey A P McCoy] was asking him some questions.
"He's a good character to judge because he bucks and kicks coming up the gallops and generally messes around, and he was still doing all that after Cheltenham so there was no reason not to come here. That said, you don't know if it's left a mark until they run. We didn't come cocky, but he was great."
Befred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
£90,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 1f, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft
|A P McCoy
|7 - 2
|D N Russell
|4 - 1
P F Nicholls
|4 - 1
|L P Aspell
|6 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
Miss R Curtis
|B J Geraghty
|3 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
||Just A Par
P F Nicholls
|12 - 1
HOLY WINS WELL
Holywell benefited from a positive ride from jockey A P McCoy when running out the 10 length winner of the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree this afternoon.
The 7/2 shot has now won four races on the trot, having landed the Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time out and his pilot believes that he has now found the key to riding the horse.
"He's improved with every run this season and we now know he needs to be ridden aggressively in his races," said McCoy.
"He's not a very big horse but he's got a big heart and it makes a big difference when they want to win like he does.
"He wasn't the best jumper earlier on in the season but he was running over a trip short of his best. We wanted to do that to get him sharp and used to jumping at pace.
"The great thing about this is that Derrick Smith flew over from Barbados this morning, so he's here to watch him which is nice. Derrick is a top man and I know he is probably hoping that Australia wins the 2000 Guineas, which is probably more important to him, but it's nice Holywell has done the job.
"I would have never have said before today that he could be a Gold Cup horse, but he has beaten all those pretty convincingly today. Last year's best novice stayer won the Gold Cup and on form, he is probably the best the staying novice chaser around. He was rated a pound higher than O'Faolains Boy coming in to today so it wasn't impossible that he could win."
The sponsors were impressed after the race and make Holywell a 16/1 shot for next year's Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
DON NOT THE BOSS
Don Cossack fell when still in with a shout in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham and showed his true worth with his 10-length second to Holywell in the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase.
Trainer Gordon Elliott said: "I thought he ran a very good race - he jumped great and travelled well.
"He was unlucky with what happened to him at Cheltenham and we may now look at the three-mile novice race for him at Punchestown.
"If you take the winner out, he has beaten the rest of the field well."
Don Cossack came seven lengths clear of the Sam Twiston-Davies-ridden Wonderful Charm who finished third.
His trainer Paul Nicholls said: "We thought we would try three miles with him but Sam felt he is a two-and-a-half-mile horse.
"He has not had too many runs this season so I might look at a two-mile-five-furlong race at Cheltenham next month if the ground is suitable."