StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle
|Grade 3 Handicap, Cheltenham 14:30
2m 87y, Class 1
|Sunday 13th November 2016|
1 North Hill Harvey 6/1
2 Modus 5/1
3 Song Light 16/1
4 A Hare Breath 14/1
NR: Ch'Tibello (FR)
16 ran Distances: ½l, 1¼l, ½l
TIME 3m 56.10s (slow by 5.10s)
North Hill Harvey edges out Modus in a tremendous battle up the hill
North Hill Harvey ran out the game half-length winner in a thrilling finish to the £100,000 StanJames.com Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
The 6/1 shot was always travelling powerfully for jockey Harry Skelton and the pair took up the running as the field turned for home with A Hare Breath (fourth) and eventual runner-up Modus breathing down their necks.
Modus came with a strong challenge as the pair battled up the Cheltenham hill and just nosed ahead for a while but North Hill Harvey fought back tenaciously to get his head in front where it mattered.
Trainer Dan Skelton was absolutely delighted with North Hill Harvey after the race but feels the five-year-old's future lies over fences.
"I had high hopes for him in last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle (finished ninth behind Altior) and thought he might be second but for the mistake at the second last," said Skelton.
"He's not in Altior's class over hurdles though. He was due to run last week at Wincanton (in the Elite Hurdle) and I left there as mad as a wasp as the ground wasn't right for him. Sometimes Lady Luck is on your side though. I did think the jump two out had cost us again as he was a bit slack. I thought Modus had come to beat us to be honest in the straight. North Hill Harvey has stuck his head out well and really wanted it though.
"It's just great. It was a great ride from Harry and he jumped really well. It's magic. It's great to win for Richard and Lizzie (Kelvin Hughes, co-owners) and Gary and Beverley (Widdowson - who also own Big Star, the showjumper that Dan's father, Nick, has won two gold medals on in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics) who own Dad's horse.
"It's just a magical day. The rail has helped him a bit in the closing stages but he was big and bold at the last. He'll be a chaser next year. I've always said we'll have a year over hurdles but chasing will be his game. I'll probably look at coming back here in December for the International but we hoped to win a race like this this year, not three like it. This race is probably the hurdle he can win off this sort of mark. We'll be adventurous this year and go down the Champion Hurdle trial route and things like that but the Champion Hurdle is probably way at the back of our consideration as he's a chaser in the making.
"It's a funny old hard game. Look at the 24 hours that Nicky (Henderson) and his team have had. I went to Wincanton for the Elite and couldn't run him so lost my rag at everyone that day - sometimes everything runs into your ditch and other times, like for Nicky this weekend, it runs out of your ditch. You've got to enjoy these times."
StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 87y
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||North Hill Harvey 6/1||Harry Skelton
|2nd||½||Modus 5/1||Harry Cobden (3)
|P F Nicholls||6|
|3rd||1¼||Song Light 16/1||Kevin Jones (5)
|J W Mullins||6|
|4th||½||A Hare Breath (IRE) 14/1||D Bass
|5th||8||Sternrubin (GER) 8/1||R Johnson
|P J Hobbs||5|
|6th||8||John Constable (IRE) 20/1||Conor Ring (3)
|7th||1½||Leoncavallo (IRE) 9/1||Mr Alex Ferguson (7)
|8th||nk||Brain Power (IRE) 12/1||Paul Moloney
|N J Henderson||5|
|9th||10||Cyrius Moriviere (FR) 33/1||Maurice Linehan (3)
|10th||4½||Jack The Wire (IRE) 16/1||D G Hogan
|11th||7||Winter Escape (IRE) 3/1f||B J Geraghty
|12th||26||Hargam (FR) 25/1||A Tinkler
|N J Henderson||5|
|PU||Rossetti 33/1||N D Fehily
|N P Mulholland||8|
|PU||Mad Jack Mytton (IRE) 14/1||Aidan Coleman
|PU||Thunder Sheik (IRE) 66/1||Ryan Hatch (3)
|N A Twiston-Davies||8|
|F||Wolf Of Windlesham (IRE) 20/1||Joshua Moore
|NR||Ch'tibello (FR) 10/1||Non Runner