1st 16 Numide 5/1 2F
Trainer Gary Moore stayed closer to home at Fontwell where he was celebrating the victory of Heathcote but another of his charges, Numide, and the trainer’s son Jamie stole the limelight at Cheltenham, winning the feature race of Sunday’s card after a determined tussle with the favourite Aigle d’Or.
Numide’s delighted owner Howard Hunt said: “Today, with soft ground and no weight, was ideal. We weren’t discouraged (with his recent efforts on the flat) but it’s all come together today.
“There’s nothing like having a big winner at Cheltenham. This is why you buy horses. You can go to Wolverhampton or Southwell but coming here is brilliant.
“He loves the soft and he had a low weight so today was the day. Jamie said he could have put him anywhere. Numide jumped the best he’s ever done.
”He comes late with one run but what also pleased us is that he battled today. Jamie said he is a totally different horse in the soft.”
Winning rider Jamie Moore said:”He’s quirky but he loves the soft ground. I was trying to persuade dad to take him to Leicester tomorrow but he told me to jog on and it all worked out well. Today Numide travelled like a dream and jumped the best he’s ever jumped. Dad’s at Fontwell - he gets a nosebleed if he goes north of Fontwell nowadays.”
He added: “Numide was found out in his two runs last year in top company then he won two poxy novice hurdles. But what you have to look at is that when he got beaten it was good ground or faster. I think he is a genuine soft ground horse.
“With him he’ll either spit it out half way round or, if he gets in a battle, he’ll fight like he did today. He sometimes sulks halfway but I don’t think he’d ever sulk at the end of a race.
”Like any jockey you just want to get to the line first - you know it is him (A P McCoy chasing you) but that doesn’t matter. We will probably go for the William Hill at Sandown and the totesport at Newbury with him now.
“We have just got to see what the handicapper does but I think Numide is good enough to go up a few pounds.”
AIGLE RUNS A CRACKER IN DEFEAT
Trainer Nicky Henderson narrowly missed out on victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with Barbers Shop, and he was similarly thwarted when Aigle D’Or found Numide too good in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Conceding 16lb to the winner, Aigle D’Or put up a fine effort and was only beaten a head by the Gary Moore-trained winner. Aigle D’Or, who is owned by J P McManus, won twice last season, but then ran disappointingly at the Festival when 13th of 15 in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle.
Henderson said: “He got there and he hit the front, so you can’t say he ran a bad race. It’s very pleasing that he’s got over the little blip at the Festival.
“I don’t know what we’ll do with him now. He goes in soft, but probably needs a stiffer test of stamina - I’m not saying he wants further, but he wants a true-run two miles. AP [McCoy]s said he could have done with a stronger gallop over this trip.
“Soft ground is very important. Put it this way, he isn’t going to win the Swinton Hurdle [run at Haydock in May when the ground is likely to be on the fast side].”
PAST WINNERS - THE GREATWOOD HANDICAP HURDLE
Year Name Age/Wgt Trainer Jockey Owner Ran SP
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