Skybet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial
2m 110y, Class 1
|Sunday 17th November 2013|
1 The Liquidator 6/4
2 Sea Lord EvensF
3 Minellaforleisure 28/1
4 ran Distances: 15l, ½l, 18l
TIME 4m 1.52s (slow by 10.52s)
The Liquidator made every post a winning one when recording a smooth success in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham this afternoon.
The 6/4 second-favourite made the running and soon had his rivals on the stretch, with even money favourite Sea Lord soon in trouble after some sticky jumping.
There was a slight moment of concern for the winner when he over-jumped the second last and stumbled slightly but jockey Tom Scudamore soon had his mount on an even keel and he sprinted up the hill to record a 15 lengths victory.
"He's obviously a good horse and I'm glad he's shown the speed to win over two miles," said trainer David Pipe.
"It could be that Sea Lord didn't run his race but who knows and I'm sure that time will tell. He's been working well at home and we might stick to two miles for the time being. I'm pleased for Roger (Brookhouse - owner) as he's been good to me over the years and hopefully I've been good to him too.
Scudamore was also pleased with the speed that The Liquidator showed and this victory was the jockey's 50th of the season.
"He was very impressive. I was very happy with him all the way through," said the jockey.
"The thing that really struck me here and particularly at Carlisle the time before was the slickness of his hurdling. He has jumped fantastically all the way through and that makes a jockey's life so much easier when you are gaining lengths and are able to keep coming back on the bridle.
"The only moment's worry he gave me was when he overjumped and stumbled the other side a little bit at the second last but he is so neat and quick on his feet it was more of a worry for me than anybody else. He is a really likeable sort. We always knew he was a good horse when he was placed around here in The Festival bumper and won at Punchestown.
"From the minute we jumped him over hurdles he has been enjoying it. His ears are pricked and he is eyeing up every obstacle. When they enjoy racing like he does and have his class, it is a pleasure.
"I'm not sure whether he'll be good enough to win a Supreme as I've not ridden many good horses in that race but this fellow does remind me of Osana (who finished second in the 2008 Champion Hurdle behind Katchit). He will handle a step up in trip while he has the speed for two miles. We will see what happens. I would not want anybody else to ride him, that is for sure."
Skybet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 110y, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
|6 - 4
J P Ferguson
|D F O'Regan
|1 - 1
A M Hales
|P J Brennan
|28 - 1
P F Nicholls
|D A Jacob
|7 - 1
Expect Sea Lord to be racing over a longer trip in future after finishing second in this novices' hurdle sponsored by Sky Bet.
Chasing a seventh straight win, the John Ferguson-trained Sea Lord spent most of the race chasing the pace set by winner The Liquidator, who seemed far happier than his rivals on ground that is good, good to soft in places.
Ferguson said: "Denis [O'Regan] has been saying we should step him up in trip, but his work has always been very impressive at home and we were keen to stay at two miles until we felt we had to go further. There was no point doing so while he was winning.
"The ground would have been tacky enough for him - he was running on good ground during the summer which is probably his ideal.
"He's a brave and genuine horse and a wonderful horse to have around so we are going to have a lot of fun with him. He might have a rest now, but we'll take him home and see how he is. It's not his style to drop out of a race and he stayed on at the finish and looks a happy horse now."
Minellaforleisure was caught near the post by Sea Lord, but on only his second outing over hurdles pleased trainer Alex Hales. He said: "We're delighted. It was a big ask coming here today, and the ground has gone against us, although to be fair the same could probably be said of Sea Lord.
"The winner must be a good horse. Paddy [Brennan] went wide looking for better ground and Minellaforleisure ran a blinder, but we'll just have to make a decision now as to whether to put him away for the spring."