Betway Top Novices' Hurdle
Grade 2, Aintree 14:20
£100,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 103y, Class 1  
Friday 5th April 2019

1 Felix Desjy 7/2
2 Aramon 3/1F
3 Rouge Vif 9/1
7 ran NR: Sofia's Rock Distances: 1½l, 7l, hd
Time: 4m 2.50s (slow by 9.50s)

Felix Desjy completes a brilliant early double for Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott

Felix Desjy
© Caroline Norris
Felix Desjy
Gordon Elliott's Felix Desjy, owned by Gigginstown House Stud and ridden by Jack Kennedy, made most of the running in the two-mile race and survived a bad blunder at a hurdle halfway round to win by a length and a half from favourite Aramon (Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh).
Elliott said: "We thought he'd like the track here today, and Jack was good and brave and let him stride along, and if he'd got beaten for doing that, he wouldn't have been getting the blame. Maybe he got a bit of a freebie, but that's the name of the game. Jack used his initiative and that's why we use these lads.
"I thought we might be in trouble after he made that mistake, but in fairness to the horse, in the last 50, 100 yards you couldn't fault him - he picked up and went on. 
"I thought when he won his maiden hurdle he was good, and maybe it's hindsight but I'd say we were riding him wrong [when he was beaten since].
"Chasing is going to be his game, but this was a great run. Jack knows the horse at home - too many instructions would only complicate it."
The six-year-old's success put jockey Jack Kennedy top of the Aintree jockeys' table following his success in the opening on Three Musketeers. He has Dounikos to look forward to in Saturday's Randox Health Grand National, plus disappointing Champion Hurdle favourite Apple's Jade in the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle.
Kennedy said: "Daryl Jacob (Rouge Vif) wanted to be forward too, but I let my lad rock and roll down to the first and Daryl was happy to leave me off. It worked out well.
"He was very lucky at the first down the back but to be fair to the horse he did well to have the scope to get there from where he came up from. I was still happy enough turning in as he stays further than two miles and so I was confident he would keep going, but coming to the last I could hear Aramon coming. He dug deep though and kept going all the way to the line.
"He missed the kick in Cheltenham and actually ran a blinder there. I think the sharper track today played into his hands."
He added: "He's always had plenty of ability but we've been waiting for things to fall right for him. You probably won't see the best of him until he jumps a fence."

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Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 103y, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Felix Desjy (FR) 7/2 J W Kennedy
G Elliott 6
2nd Aramon (GER) 3/1f R Walsh
W P Mullins 6
3rd 7 Rouge Vif (FR) 9/1 D A Jacob
H Whittington 5
4th hd Itchy Feet (FR) 7/2 G Sheehan
Olly Murphy 5
5th 1 Winston C (IRE) 12/1 Sean Bowen
H Fry 5
6th Precious Cargo (IRE) 4/1 Nico de Boinville
N J Henderson 6
7th 6 Southfield Stone 9/1 H Cobden
P F Nicholls 6
NR Sofia's Rock (FR) Non Runner
D Skelton 5