Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle)
£30,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 5f, Class 1
Neptune Investment Management
Saturday 16th November 2013


1 Creepy 9/2
2 Timesremembered 9/4F
3 Port Melon 7/2
8 ran Distances: 1l, 4l, 5l
TIME 5m 11.71s (slow by 14.71s)

Trainer Martin Keighley and jockey Ian Popham put the disappointment of Champion Court’s poor run in the BetVictor Gold Cup behind them after the well-backed 9/2 shot Creepy landed the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle by one length.

© Racehorse Photos


The five-year-old had finished second over three miles on his previous start here back in October and his trainer thought the step back down in trip helped his gelding settle a little better.

“I was a little down in the dumps following Champion Court’s run but this has put me right back on top – it’s a fantastic atmosphere here,” said Keighley.

“He was a bit too keen last time out and the drop back in trip has just helped him settle a little better. He wouldn’t be the quickest horse I’ve got in the yard but he does it on the track which is the most important thing.

“We’ve schooled him over fences and he’s a great jumper so I’m looking forward to him going over the big ones which will probably be next season.

“I wouldn’t be afraid of stepping him back up in trip as I think three miles is well within his reach and I’d imagine he’ll be trained with the Albert Bartlett (at The Festival) in mind.”

Winning rider Ian Popham was also full of praise for the son of Westerner.

“It wasn’t Champion Court’s day today – he will be back – but this horse has done it really nicely and he was still a bit green up the run-in. He was fourth in this race last year and we have taken time with his jumping because it has been a bit of a problem before.

“I rode him over three miles last time and I was always taking him back and therefore I wasn’t making lengths over hurdles because he was too keen. Today, he has jumped great and I have got him going easily.

“The last two years, I have sat at home watching this meeting with a broken pelvis so it’s great to be here. I owe Martin a big thanks, who stuck by me when I was off. It means a lot.”

Emma Lavelle, trainer of the second-placed horse Timesremembered, who finished a length behind winner Creepy, thought that the 7lb difference in the weights between the two horses made the difference.

“The 7lb probably did it, but he’s run a fantastic race and I’m delighted that he’s galloped all the way to the line. He did nothing wrong – he just couldn’t give the weight away and didn’t have the rail.

“In some ways this was his first proper test today, and he still came through it well. Three miles will probably be his trip and the Albert Bartlett will probably be his race at the Festival in March.”

Jockey Leighton Aspell added: “Today was the first truly-run race he’s had, and he will have learnt a lot from it.”

Timesremembered, a five-year-old by Akbar, had won both of his previous starts over hurdles, including the Grade Two Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow last time out.


Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 5f, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

M Keighley
Ian Popham
11st 0lbs
9 - 2
Miss E C Lavelle
L Aspell
11st 7lbs
9 - 4
1 length
Port Melon
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 0lbs
7 - 2
4 lengths
W P Mullins
P Townend
11st 7lbs
15 - 2
5 lengths
Pure Science
N A Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies
11st 0lbs
11 - 1
5 lengths
Drop Out Joe
C E Longsdon
N Fehily
11st 4lbs
22 - 1
6 lengths
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
10st 11lbs
8 - 1
19 lengths
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 4lbs
12 - 1
6 lengths

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About the series

The Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle series consists of eight races throughout the Jump season, culminating with the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

It has proved not only an outstanding showcase for young hurdling talent but also a stepping stone to those that go on to shine at the highest level in open company, whether over hurdles or fences.

The Cheltenham Festival winners under Neptune Investment Management's sponsorship are The New One (2013), Simonsig (2012), First Lieutenant (2011) and Peddlers Cross (2010), while winners of the series races include last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth.

Now one of the leading corporate sponsors of British racing, Neptune has increased its sponsorship portfolio to include four races on the Flat in the summer, including two of the most prestigious trials for the Ladbrokes St Leger, the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.