Unibet Tolworth Hurdle
|Grade 1, Sandown 14:25
1m 7f 216y, Class 1
|Saturday 5th January 2019|
1 Elixir De Nutz 3/1
2 Grand Sancy 4/1
3 Southfield Stone 6/1
5 ran NR: Idee De Garde Distances: ½l, 3¼l, 8l
Time: 4m 5.90s (slow by 20.90s)
Elixir De Nutz grinds out front running success
Colin Tizzard’s Elixir De Nutz – in the colours of owner Terry Warner – kept up the gallop to see off his four rivals in the hands of Tom O’Brien.
He put in a good round of jumping and found plenty when tackled by Grand Sancy in the closing stages to score by half a length.
The disappointment of the race was the Nicky Henderson-trained 6-5 favourite Rathhill, who made a mistake early on and was struggling from some way out.
Tizzard said: “He has toughed that out again today. Going from the front like that, you have got to be tough. He jumps his hurdles and is away from them so fast. If we held him up I don’t know whether he could do that.
“That is the beauty of him – the way he crosses a hurdle he takes a length out of them every time. If he folded today in second no one would blame him, but he is a tough old boy and has had a hard race today.
“Terry said when he sent him to me he is the best horse he has had for a long time. He has surprised us as he is not that brilliant at home. We’ve had him for four runs, three wins and one second, and he is just a very nice horse.
“I wouldn’t think there is any chance of him running between now and Cheltenham, as he has had a tough old race today. He has had four runs already this season and it would be nice to save him for the three festivals later on.”
Grand Sancy’s stablemate Southfield Stone was third, and Harry Derham, assistant to Paul Nicholls, said of the Ditcheat pair: “I’m delighted with both horses and I would say both have run career bests.
“Both will have a little break now then we will look at something in the spring. I’m sure in time both will end up over further. Grand Sancy might be one for something like the boys’ race (Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at Cheltenham).
“Southfield Stone has run a massive race, a massive step up on what he has done before.”
He has got a lot of learning to do
Henderson said of the beaten market leader: “He was just a bit naive about the whole thing. He wasn’t very happy on the ground, but he was just playing around in the air. He didn’t have the experience for it.
“He has had one hurdle race in his life. We thought he did it well at Newbury, but it is one thing beating a whole load of maidens. Passing the stands the first time, Barry (Geraghty) said he was all up in the air and jumping too big.
“He has got a lot of learning to do.”
Unibet Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1 Novices' Hurdle)
£50,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 216y, Class 1
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Elixir De Nutz (FR) 3/1||T J O'Brien
|C L Tizzard||5|
|2nd||½||Grand Sancy (FR) 4/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|
|3rd||3¼||Southfield Stone 6/1||H Cobden
|P F Nicholls||6|
|4th||8||Rathhill (IRE) 6/5f||B J Geraghty
|N J Henderson||6|
|5th||5||Mercy Mercy Me 14/1||P J Brennan
|NR||Idee De Garde (FR)||Harry Skelton