Silver Cross Stayer's Hurdle
|Grade 1, Aintree 14:50
3m 110y, Class 1
|Saturday 11th April 2015|
1 Whisper 5/1
2 Cole Harden 2/1F
3 Un Temps Pour Tout 15/2
9 ran Distances: 3½l, 6l, 11l
TIME 5m 58.50s (slow by 4.50s)
Whisper comes back to form and wins the Liverpool Hurdle for the second successive year!
Whisper bounced back to form to take the Silver Cross Stayers' Hurdle for a second consecutive year for trainer Nicky Henderson and owner Dai Walters.
"It's been a long winter. He had a lot of racing last season at Ffos Las, Cheltenham, and then here. He came in looking great but from day one he was no horse," said Henderson.
"We were going to go chasing but from day one his work was dreadful.
We ran him in a novice chase at Exeter and he was well-beaten - I wasn't surprised because he had been showing us nothing.
"Dai has been great, we lost Oscar Whisky, and then this horse went on walkabout so it has been a long, dark winter. It's great to have him back because it has been dire.
"We knew a fortnight before Cheltenham that he was starting to get there, but we've just had to sit and wait for it to happen. I knew it was probably too soon there but we had to get the run into him.
"We had the ear plugs in today and I didn't bring him into the paddock until late because he boiled over last year.
"Dai says I can't go chasing with him again and Oscar Whisky won here three times. I don't think he'll go to Punchestown because we got to the bottom of him last season with Ffos Las, Cheltenham and here."
Walters added: "He's going hurdling for the rest of his life. We've got plenty of other horses for chasing."
Silver Cross Stayers' Hurdle
£120,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 110y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
|Pos||Dist||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Whisper (FR) 5/1||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson||7|
|2nd||3½||Cole Harden (IRE) 2/1f||G Sheehan
|3rd||6||Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE) 15/2||T Scudamore
|4th||11||Zarkandar (IRE) 5/2||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||8|
|5th||28||Henryville 12/1||N D Fehily
|6th||3||Brother Brian (IRE) 20/1||T J O'Brien
|7th||2||Crack Away Jack 25/1||Aidan Coleman
|Miss E C Lavelle||11|
|PU||Blue Fashion (IRE) 28/1||D Bass
|N J Henderson||6|
|PU||Jetson (IRE) 11/1||R Walsh
|Mrs J Harrington||10|
WHISPER TAKES ADVANTAGE OF WILTING HARDEN
Jockey Nico De Boinville was delighted with the performance of Whisper as he stayed on strongly past the front-running Cole Harden to record a three and a half length victory this afternoon.
The 5/1 shot was always travelling strongly under De Boinville and got the better of a protracted tussle with the Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner as the pair battled up the run-in. This was Whisper's second successive victory in the Grade One event.
"He's just come into himself in the past couple of weeks," said the jockey.
"He's progressed so much since Cheltenham, and he needed to. It's almost as if he enjoys the sun on his back and the sun's come out at the right time. He's absolutely thrived on it.
"He jumped and travelled all the way. I was never particularly worried. I knew I had to be on the heels of Cole Harden because he stays forever. Whisper lengthened really well and loves it here.
"My lower lip was dropping a bit recently as I'd not had the best couple of weeks but this has really put me on a high.
"This season is going from strength to strength. I am very lucky that I am supported by brilliant people and I can't thank them enough.
"This horse and me go a good way back. He gave me my first Cheltenham success and I am very grateful to him.
"I spoke to Barry (Geraghty) before the race and he told me just how to ride him. It's a shame he can't be here today but that's racing."
GREATREX TAKES COLE DEFEAT AT FACE VALUE
The Warren Greatrex-trained Cole Harden made most of the running, but could not hold off last year's winner, Whisper, who was three and a half lengths clear at the line. Third, a further six lengths back, was Un Temps Pour Tout, while Zarkandar finished fourth of the nine runners.
Greatrex said: "He's run a cracker, but probably wasn't quite as good as at Cheltenham. At least he's proved that was no fluke, and he's been beaten by a horse that won this race last year and loves this track. I did think for a second turning for home that we had him beaten, but it wasn't to be.
"He hasn't gone down without a fight and has beaten all the horses that were behind him at Cheltenham. He deserved to come here and he's proved it was the right thing to do. He'll be back to defend his crown next year - he was good today, but perhaps the spark was missing. He really does ping off good ground, so perhaps it was a bit softer than ideal today."
David Pipe, the trainer of Un Temp Pour Tout, felt softer ground would have suited his horse. He said: "He's run probably the race of his life - he's run a cracker. The ground's probably not quite to his liking, he wants soft ground so we look forward to seeing him over fences. Before that he may go to Punchestown or perhaps the French Champion Hurdle."
Paul Nicholls, the trainer of Zarkandar, said: "He ran a bit flat, the same as in this race last year. I think we will have to keep him very fresh between his runs - he travelled with loads of enthusiasm at Cheltenham [when third to Cole Harden], but had a hard race and today that spark was missing. He was entered at Punchestown, but we won't go there. We'll go to Auteuil in June, then start him back again at Auteuil and probably just do Ascot and the World Hurdle."