Turners Mersey Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1, Aintree 13:55
£100,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus,
2m 4f, Class 1  
Saturday 13th April 2024


1 Brighterdaysahead 6/5F
2 Staffordshire Knot 20/1
3 Bugise Seagull 50/1
8 ran NR: Caldwell Potter Distances: 7½l, 4¼l, nse
Time: 5m 4.76s (slow by 19.76s)

Brighterdaysahead lived up to her name with a commanding victory.

Trainer Gordon Elliott held her in high esteem, and she entered the Cheltenham Festival as one of the standout contenders in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. Despite a surprising defeat at Prestbury Park, where she finished second to Golden Ace, Brighterdaysahead showcased her exceptional quality when faced with top-class competition.

Guided skillfully by jockey Jack Kennedy, Brighterdaysahead maintained an ideal position throughout the race. As they turned for home, she surged effortlessly to the front, leaving her rivals behind. The 6-5 favorite strolled to victory, winning by a comfortable margin of seven and a half lengths. Her stablemate Staffordshire Knott secured second place, completing a one-two finish for the Gigginstown House Stud in this prestigious Grade One event.

Elliott said: “The horses have been running well week, but we’ve been hitting the crossbar. I said a lot about this mare leading up to Cheltenham and I was gutted coming out of it, but we’re overjoyed today.

“She’s very good, I was nervous before the race because looking at her I thought she looked a bit light across her kidneys, but she showed how special she is.

“We can go wherever we want with her. I’m not going to say the best mare I’ve had because Apple’s Jade was pretty special, but she’s good.

“In this game there are always disappointments, but I look at life totally different now, I just love training winners and I love horses. But to win today is unbelievable.

“I don’t think the trip was the reason she got beat at Cheltenham, I thought she’d win. Willie’s horse (Jade De Grugy) has already come out and won at Fairyhouse. I just think on the day Jack and Paul (Townend) were watching each other and the other horse (Golden Ace) came and did them both.

“She’s gorgeous to look at.”

In third, running a huge race at 50-1, was the Charlie Longsdon-trained Bugise Seagull.

“At 50-1 he wasn’t given a chance, but I knew he was five lengths better than his Sidney Banks run. I felt that would put him on a par with (stablemate) Handstands,” said Longsdon.

“He’s not streetwise enough to run in handicaps and he will be chucked in a field and have a good holiday.

“It’s been a bad season for us, the horses have been ill and then they came back on heavy ground and it’s just not easy to come back from being ill on heavy ground.

“This horse has kept the flag flying for the yard to be brutally honest. Hopefully this is the turn of things to come.”


Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
£100,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

1    Brighterdaysahead 5 11-0 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 6/5F
Staffordshire Knot 6 11-7 Gordon Elliott Sam Ewing 20/1
3 Bugise Seagull 6 11-7 Charlie Longsdon Sean Bowen 50/1
nse Jimmy Du Seuil 5 11-7 W P Mullins Paul Townend 100/30
Ile Atlantique 6 11-7 W P Mullins Mr P W Mullins 5/2
Mahon's Way 6 11-7 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 25/1
5 Esprit Du Potier 5 11-7 Lucinda Russell Derek Fox 22/1
24 Josh The Boss 5 11-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Jamie Neild 80/1
NR 2 Caldwell Potter 6 11-7 Paul Nicholls NON RUNNER

Trainers Quotes