StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle
|Grade 1, Newcastle 14:05
2m, Class 1
|Saturday 29th November 2014|
Irving gives Nicholls 100th Grade 1 winner in Fighting Fifth, getting the better of a rousing finish with Aurore D'Estruval
1 Irving 6/4F
2 Aurore D'Estruval 3/1
3 Arctic Fire 9/4
6 ran Distances: 1¾l, 4l, 25l
TIME 4m 0.10s (slow by 19.10s)
An emotional Paul Nicholls celebrated his 100th Grade One success as Irving bounced back from a knock-out blow to win at Newcastle.
A heavy faller just three weeks ago at Wincanton when he took 15 minutes to rise to his feet, Irving also had something to prove having run no sort of a race when well fancied for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Ridden by regular partner Nick Scholfield, the pair tracked John Quinn's mare Aurore D'Estruval into the straight and it was there that Irving's superior speed shone through as he pinged the second-last and went on to win by a length and three-quarters as the 6-4 favourite.
Nicholls was at Newbury for the Hennessy meeting but was quick to praise his landlord, Paul Barber, who set him on his way over 20 years ago.
The first of his 100 top-level successes was brought up by See More Indians in the Feltham Novices' Chase in 1993.
The trainer said: "I never thought I would reach this landmark. There was only one man who believed in me. That was Paul Barber, he'll be watching from home and will be mighty proud of me. He's a great man and will be enjoying this as much as me.
"I'd hadn't really thought after today. We wanted to get his season back on track. He disappointed at Cheltenham and then he fell at Wincanton. We thought he'd win the other day.
"Kempton is in a month's time and Nick will keep the ride on him now as Sam (Twiston-Davies, Nicholls' stable jockey) is going to stick to The New One."
Scholfield, who was registering his second Grade One victory after Melodic Rendezvous won the Tolworth Hurdle in 2013, said: "He jumped immaculately, he never missed a hurdle. Paul has done some job considering he was on the floor three weeks ago.
"The way he jumped today, he wouldn't be out of place in a Champion Hurdle."
Stan James made Irving a 20-1 chance for the Champion Hurdle from 33-1.
Stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
|Pos||Dist||Horse / Jockey||Weight||Trainer||Age|
|11-7||P F Nicholls||6|
|2nd||1¾||Aurore d'Estruval (FR) 3/1
|11-0||J J Quinn||4|
|3rd||4||Arctic Fire (GER) 9/4
|11-7||W P Mullins||5|
|4th||25||Sea Lord (IRE) 8/1
|11-7||J P Ferguson||7|
|5th||23||Swaledale Lad (IRE) 100/1
|6th||30||Volcanic Jack (IRE) 200/1
|11-7||M C Chapman||6|