Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Grade 1, Newcastle 14:55
£120,000 added, 4yo plus,
2m 98y, Class 1  
Saturday 26th November 2016

1 Irving 6/1
2 Apple's Jade 15/8F
3 Hidden Cyclone 12/1
6 ran Distances: nse, 2½l, 6l
TIME 3m 56.30s (slow by 15.30s)

Irving rolls back the years for a second Fighting Fifth triumph

© Racehorse Photos
Sceau Royal

The eight-year-old Irving looked a seriously smart recruit for Paul Nicholls after winning his first four starts on these shores a few seasons ago, but disappointed when joint-favourite for the 2014 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and his career has gone in peaks and troughs since.

He justified prohibitive odds in this Grade One event two years ago, but finished tailed off when defending his crown and having also failed to fire on his only subsequent start in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February, he was a 6-1 shot for his return to Gosforth Park.

Those who kept the faith would not have been optimistic for much of the two-mile journey, with conditional jockey Harry Cobden having to get to work at various stages.

Apple's Jade
© Racehorse Photos

Apple's Jade
However, Irving responded to his young rider's urgings and after battling his way to the front in the straight, he had just enough in the tank to fend off heavily-supported 15-8 favourite Apple's Jade.

The pair flashed by the post almost as one, but the judge confirmed Irving the winner by a nose.

Cobden said: "It's my first ride in a Grade One and I'm very grateful to the owners and especially Mr Nicholls for letting me ride."

Nicholls watched on from Newbury and was understandably thrilled.

"It's been a great team effort to get him back. It was a great ride from Harry," said the champion trainer.

"I would not mind going two and a half with him. He is not going for the Christmas Hurdle as he would get lapped.

"We will find something over two and a half for him after Christmas.

"He has been a nightmare to train." Fighting Fifth Hurdle
£120,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 98y, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Irving 6/1 Harry Cobden
P F Nicholls 8
2nd nse Apple's Jade (FR) 15/8f J W Kennedy
G Elliott 4
3rd Hidden Cyclone (IRE) 12/1 D E Mullins
J J Hanlon 11
4th 6 Sceau Royal (FR) 9/4 D A Jacob
A King 4
5th 55 Mirsaale 40/1 B Hughes
K Dalgleish 6
F Petit Mouchoir (FR) 4/1 B J Cooper
H de Bromhead 5

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