Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle
|Grade 1, Aintree 16:40
3m 149y, Class 1
|Friday 8th April 2016|
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."
Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
£90,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 149y, Class 1
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||2½||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||2¾||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
|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)|
MULLINS PLEASED WITH BELLSHILL
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."