ifb2014.com Top Novices' Hurdle
Grade 2, Aintree
£60,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 110y, Class 1
Friday 4th April 2014


1 Josses Hill 6/4F
2 Sgt Reckless 9/2
3 King Of The Picts 25/1
10 ran Distances: 6l, 3¼l, ½l
TIME 3m 59.60s (slow by 6.60s)

Josses Hill is set for a career over fences after building on his Supreme Novices' second to land the International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices' Hurdle.

Josses Hill
© Racehorse Photos

Josses Hill

The 6/4 favourite was beaten by Willie Mullins' Vautour at the Festival but with Willie Mullins's runner tucked up in his Irish stable, Josses Hill saw off Supreme Novices' fourth Sgt Reckless to score by six lengths and provide trainer Nicky Henderson with his fourth win in the last five years in this race.

Henderson, who had won the race with the Darlan and Champion Hurdle second My Tent Or Yours in the last two years, said: "We have come here with the Supreme Novices' second for the last two seasons now and have won so it is a nice consolation prize.

"It is nice to win as it is a good prize. My Tent and Darlan both won here and it is nice to see him do that.

"Sadly, Darlan did not survive in his next season and My Tent Or Yours was second in the Champion Hurdle. This horse is more of a chaser and I suspect that next season we will take the chasing route.

"That will be him done for the season now. We won't go to Punchestown as I don't want to get thumped by Mr Mullins again!"

Winning owner Alan Spence missed Josses Hill's Grade One success as he was flying to Barbados.

Henderson added that My Tent Of Yours is a possibly to head to Ayr later this month for the Scottish Champion Hurdle.


International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
£60,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 110y, Class 1
10 ran
Going: Good to Soft

Josses Hill
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 4lbs
6 - 4
Sgt Reckless
M R Channon
A P McCoy
11st 4lbs
9 - 2
6 lengths
King of The Picts
J P Shanahan
P Townend
11st 4lbs
25 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
Baltimore Rock
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 4lbs
8 - 1
1/2 length
J P Ferguson
D F O'Regan
11st 4lbs
16 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
Art Of Payroll
D T Hughes
P Carberry
11st 4lbs
13 - 2
3 lengths
Irish Cavalier
Miss R Curtis
J E Moore
11st 4lbs
25 - 1
6 lengths
The Game Changer
C F Swan
D J Casey
11st 4lbs
16 - 1
5 lengths
Gentleman Jon
C L Tizzard
Brendan Powell
11st 4lbs
50 - 1
9 lengths
Amore Alato
Nick Williams
R Johnson
11st 4lbs
10 - 1
8 lengths



Winning jockey Barry Geraghty may have felt that Josses Hill was missing some of usual sparkle, but the six-year-old nevertheless marked himself down as a horse with a big future with a six-length strike in the opening race on Ladies' Day.

"He's very genuine and he tries but he just didn't travel today," said Geraghty, who also finished second on Josses Hill in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

"He has had a busy enough season - he has been to Cheltenham - and it has taken its toll. He didn't travel and jump through the race as easily as I would have liked - he was a bit more workmanlike than usual - but I threw him at the last two and he really responded. I knew I had plenty there.

"A P [McCoy, on runner-up Sgt Reckless] came upsides but we were a long way from home and I knew that I was going to stay well and I knew, soon after he joined me, that I had the measure of him.

"He met a very good horse at Cheltenham and I think that he is a horse with a big future over fences."


Sergeant Reckless could go chasing next season following a fine run, where he finished the six length runner-up behind Josses Hill.

Sgt Reckless
© Racehorse Photos
Sgt Reckless

The 9/2 shot cruised up alongside the winner two hurdles from home but couldn't quite match his finishing kick and trainer Mick Channon was happy enough with the seven-year-old following the race.

"We could have done without the bit of rain that we had last night as I think it's gone against but we've got no real excuses," said Channon.

"The owners are quite keen on going chasing next season but I'm not sure. He's got a lot of class and speed. There's a strong possibility that we could go to Punchestown after this."

Trainer Pat Shanahan was also delighted with the performance of 25/1 shot King Of The Picts, who finished a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.

"He's a very genuine horse," said the trainer.

"He's straightforward and loves his racing. He's probably about 7lb below top-class but he always tries his heart out.

"I think he'll probably get two and a quarter miles in time but that would be as far as he wants to go.

"He'll head to Punchestown next. He goes well fresh so we'll give him a nice break during the summer and take it from there."

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