Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase
Grade 1, Aintree 13:40
£100,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 3f 200y, Class 1  
Thursday 7th April 2016


1 Arzal 4/1
2 L'Ami Serge 9/2
3 Sizing John 11/4F
8 ran Distances: 8l, 16l, 2¾l
TIME 5m 8.20s (slow by 20.20s)

Arzal makes every yard to claim the Manifesto Novices Chase

© Racehorse Photos

Front-running Arzal put the icing on the cake for Oxfordshire handler Harry Whittington after a great season.

It was a first Grade One success for Whittington, who began training with just five horses in September, 2012.

"It's just great," said Whittington. "We've had a fantastic season and it's all down to having good people and good horses.

"Plan A was always to come here and the horse had a temperature two weeks before Cheltenham and that ended any temptation we might have had to change our minds and go there.

"That will be it for sure now with him for the season. He might end up coming back here for the Old Roan Chase in the autumn. He jumps a bit left-handed and what he wants is a flat, left-handed galloping track. Places like Doncaster and here suit him perfectly, they help him get into a good rhythm."


Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase
£100,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 200y, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Arzal (FR) 4/1 G Sheehan
H Whittington 6
2nd 8 L'Ami Serge (IRE) 9/2 D A Jacob
N J Henderson 6
3rd 16 Sizing John 11/4f J J Burke
H de Bromhead 6
4th Bouvreuil (FR) 16/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
P F Nicholls 5
5th 8 Volnay De Thaix (FR) 12/1 Nico de Boinville
N J Henderson 7
6th 25 Aso (FR) 25/1 Aidan Coleman
Miss V Williams 6
7th 1 Rock The World (IRE) 14/1 R M Power
Mrs J Harrington 8
UR Garde La Victoire (FR) 7/2 R Johnson
P J Hobbs 7


Horses placed at last month's Cheltenham Festival were once again in the money, but nothing could lay a glove on winner Arzal.

He made all the running, and while runner-up L'Ami Serge was the one rival who made a concerted attempt to chase him down in the home straight, it was to no avail.

L'Ami Serge, trained by Nicky Henderson, had finished third to Black Hercules in the JLT Novices' Chase at The Festival, and while he went one place better today he bumped into a fresh horse and could not land a blow.

There were more questions than answers for trainer Henry De Bromhead after 11/4 favourite Sizing John had finished third.

De Bromhead's runner had finished second to mighty Douvan in last month's Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham over two miles, yet the extra half mile today may not have been the sole reason for his defeat. He was beaten eight lengths and 16 lengths by the first two, and the trainer admitted: "Johnny [Burke] felt he was running on empty once they turned into the home straight - that was his gut feeling, but it may be we have run him again too soon [after Cheltenham] and today's race comes at the end of a long season.

"It looks like they were going away from him, and although he made a mistake at the second-last fence Johnny felt he was on empty by then.

"I wouldn't know what we'll do next - there are no plans."

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