Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1, Aintree 16:40
£100,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m 149y, Class 1  
Friday 8th April 2016

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1 Ballyoptic 9/1
2 Bellshill 11/2f
3 Potters Legend 16/1
NR: Sandymount Duke (IRE)
15 ran Distances: nk, 13l, 2½l
TIME 6m 17.90s (slow by 23.90s)

Ryan Hatch gets a great tune out of Ballyoptic to edge out Bellshill in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle



Ballyoptic, a 9/1 shot, got up in the shadow of the winning post to win the Grade One Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle from the 11/2 favourite Bellshill by a neck.

Ridden by Ryan Hatch and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, this was only six-year-old Ballyoptic's third start over hurdles.

The Willie Mullins-trained Bellshill was ridden by Mullins' son Patrick, who was replacing the injured Ruby Walsh.

Twiston-Davies said: "He's improving - we had no idea how good he was. He's won his two hurdles before this really well, and he's now proved he's a top horse.

"It's really encouraging. Thistlecrack [last month's Ryanair World Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham Festival] won this race last year and if we can even slightly follow in his footsteps it would be good. He really battled, so we can look forward to next season. Chasing is his future, but let's look at long distance hurdles next season to start with. Let's hope he can go right to the top."

Mathematician Betting

Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
£90,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 149y, Class 1
15 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Ballyoptic (IRE) 9/1 Ryan Hatch
N A Twiston-Davies 6
2nd nk Bellshill (IRE) 11/2f Mr P W Mullins
W P Mullins 6
3rd 13 Potters Legend 16/1 L P Aspell
Mrs L Wadham 6
4th Balko Des Flos (FR) 12/1 B J Cooper
W P Mullins 5
5th 10 Yala Enki (FR) 25/1 Aidan Coleman
Miss V Williams 6
6th Duke Des Champs (IRE) 9/1 R Johnson
P J Hobbs 6
7th 14 Arkwrisht (FR) 25/1 D J Mullins
W P Mullins 6
8th 13 Ami Desbois (FR) 100/1 Kielan Woods
G McPherson 6
9th 19 Ballydine (IRE) 6/1 B Hughes
C E Longsdon 6
NR Sandymount Duke (IRE) 20/1 R M Power Mrs J Harrington 7
Also Ran: Baoulet Delaroque (FR) , Gangster (FR) , Ghost River , Mystical Knight , Tomngerry (IRE) , Vintage Clouds (IRE)


Willie Mullins was upbeat about Bellshill's performance, despite the six-year-old being downed by Ballyoptic in the closing stages to finish a neck adrift of the winner.

Mullins said of the 11/2 favourite: "Three miles seems to be what he needs. He just ran out of petrol at the wrong moment, but he ran a really good race. He could go to Punchestown, but we'll look at all the horses next week and decide what we are going to do."

Trainer Lucy Wadham was delighted with Potters Legend's (16/1) effort to finish third, she said: "I'm absolutely delighted. To be third in Grade One is fantastic, considering he only started his racing career in a bumper in October of this year. He's just been so consistent all season and today is the first time he has been out of the first two all season.

"He definitely liked the step up in trip today, he clearly got it well and I think he will get it better next time. We've already schooled him over fences and he will be going chasing next year. He's built like a chaser, so it's quite exciting."

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