Randox Health Fox Hunters' Chase
£45,000 added, Aintree 16:05
6yo plus,
2m 5f 19y, Class 2    
Thursday 4th April 2019

1 Top Wood 14/1
2 Burning Ambition 11/2
3 Road To Riches 20/1
27 ran Distances: 2l, 11l, 4l
Time: 5m 45.70s (slow by 24.70s)

Top Wood surges back past Burning Ambition to win

A former polo groom who begged her boss to allow her to train a point-to-pointer paid him back in spades when saddling Top Wood to win today's Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase in his colours.
The boss in question, Johnny Weatherby, chairman of racing administrators Weatherbys, and The Queen's representative at Ascot, was at Aintree to witness his Top Wood, trained by Kelly Morgan and ridden by Tabitha Worsley, land the £45,000 race.
Top Wood, who has been placed in the two most recent runnings of the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, brought his stamina to bear when rallying after the Elbow to regain the lead from runner-up Burning Ambition and win by two lengths. A further 11 lengths back in third was Road To Riches.
Morgan, who is based at a yard owned by Weatherby near Oakham in Rutland, is the sister of another licensed trainer, Laura. Their brother, Tommy, is a talented trainer of pointers, while their father, Kevin, also trained.
The winning trainer had barely any sleep last night after it was discovered Top Wood suffered a stone bruise yesterday - her night-time vigil involved bathing his foot in buckets of ice.
She said of Top Wood: "People have called him a monkey in the past, but he's not. He's incredibly brave and really stuck his neck out today. I could barely watch the finish. He jumped the first two and got into a bit of a rhythm - he's the type of horse who you know early in a race how he's going, and if he's jumping and travelling he will be hard to beat. 
"Straight after Cheltenham we decided to come here. He's 12 now so what did we have to lose? When it started raining today everyone was running from it, but I was virtually dancing in it. He loves the soft ground and the more rain that fell, the more I felt he could go well.
"We got to know Tabitha two years ago when she took a spare ride for us on Decade Player at High Easter and won on him. I'd looked her up and thought she looked like a good rider and our association has grown from there. Today I just said 'get a good start, let him pop away and see if he's enjoying it'. 
"He's such a strong traveller, but everybody seemed to think we were mad to drop him down in trip. I never had that in mind and pointed out that he seems to get everything off the bridle at Cheltenham. He travels that strongly and he's not a slow horse - the only question was whether he would take to the fences. The other horse [Burning Ambition] came to him, but I knew our horse would be as brave as a lion and wouldn't go down without a fight.
"I started at Johnny's seven years ago as a part-time polo groom. At that time Johnny had a few pointers with a guy just up the road and one day I said to him, 'Can I train a couple - why can't I have a couple at home?'. He laughed and put it off for a year, then one day he said, 'You can train and ride old Valance, and I'll have a bit of fun with that,' and it went from there. He won first time out with me on board - that was about five years ago.
"We have just five horses in, all owned by Johnny. I took out a full licence in October."
Weatherby said: "It's unbelievable - that was a fantastic training performance by Kelly, and Tabitha gave him a great ride."


Fox Hunters' Chase
£45,000 added, 6yo plus, 2m 5f 19y, Class 2
27 ran
Going: Soft

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Top Wood (FR) 14/1 Miss T Worsley
Miss Kelly Morgan 12
2nd 2 Burning Ambition (IRE) 11/2 Mr Derek O'Connor
Pierce Power 8
3rd 11 Road To Riches (IRE) 20/1 Mr D Maxwell
D M Christie 12
4th 4 Coastal Tiep (FR) 50/1 Mr B G Crawford
S R B Crawford 7
5th 6 Road To Rome (IRE) 11/4f Mr S Waley-Cohen
J J O'Shea 9
6th 9 Sir Jack Yeats (IRE) 16/1 Mr James King
Richard Spencer 8
7th Greensalt (IRE) 25/1 Mr W Easterby
W H Easterby 11
8th 23 Kruzhlinin (GER) 12/1 Mr B O'Neill
G Elliott 12
9th 27 Balnaslow (IRE) 25/1 Mr M J O'Hare
G J McKeever 12
10th 8 Just Cause (IRE) 100/1 Mr J Andrews
J P Owen 9
11th 3 Never Complain (IRE) 100/1 Mr Charlie Marshall
Mrs F Marshall 11
12th 22 Mr Mercurial (IRE) 33/1 Mr W B Ramsay
W B Ramsay 11
PU Asockastar (IRE) 50/1 Mr P W Mullins
Daniel Bourne 11
PU Bear's Affair (IRE) 25/1 Mr Alex Edwards
Philip Rowley 13
PU Champagne West (IRE) 50/1 Miss L M Pinchin
T M Frost 11
PU Crazy Jack (IRE) 66/1 Mr G Crow
Mrs A R Hewitt 11
PU Dineur (FR) 33/1 Mr P Bryan
M Bowen 13
PU Gallery Exhibition (IRE) 100/1 Mr G Disney
P W Mason 12
PU Numbercruncher (IRE) 100/1 Mr T Gillard
David O'Brien 13
PU Pass The Hat 40/1 Miss S Rippon
Miss S Rippon 12
PU Shantou Magic (IRE) 100/1 Mr N Phillips
W B Ramsay 12
PU Shimla Dawn (IRE) 66/1 Miss E Todd
Mrs C Drury 11
PU Ucello Conti (FR) 4/1 Mr J J Codd
G Elliott 11
PU Wonderful Charm (FR) 16/1 Mr W Biddick
P F Nicholls 11
UR Mr Mix (FR) 20/1 Mr Stuart Robinson
S C Robinson 8
UR Seefood (IRE) 16/1 Miss C R Crane
Justin Landy 12
UR Starkie 100/1 Mr Martin McIntyre
Anthony Ward-Thomas 12