THE ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE
1st (10) Noland 6-1
FIRST BLOOD TO NICHOLLS TEAM
The Festival 2006 got off to the most thrilling start possible when Noland came with a superb late run to deny Straw Bear close home by a neck in the opening Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The five-year-old, bought for 70,000 guineas at the DBS Sale at Cheltenham Racecourse in December, 2004, looked to have plenty to do at the top of the hill and it seemed as if Straw Bear had the race at his mercy. However, the winner is clearly not short of stamina and overhauled Nick Gifford’s charge in the shadow of the post.
Winning owner John Hales, successful at past Festivals with greats such as One Man and Azertyuiop, commented: afterwards: “To be honest, I thought we had had it as he came down the hill the final time as he looked to be struggling.
“However, we know he has stamina and he has kept going all the way to the line.
“We look forward to bringing him back for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy next year and we will hopefully have Azertyuiop back for next year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase.”
Paul Nicholls, registering his 11th Frestival victory, commented: “That was a great start to the week.
“His strong point is at the finish as he always finishes his races so strongly.
“The rain we had earlier today has probably just slowed the ground down a bit which has helped him.
“Ruby [Walsh] has given him a superb ride. He’s given him time to get into his stride and hasn’t rushed him at all.”
Looking ahead to the future, Nicholls added: “He’s a chaser in the making and is not a Champion Hurdle horse.
“He will go over fences next year and will be an Arkle Horse. I think he may get two and a half over fences but don’t think he will be a three-mile horse over fences.”
Bookmaker reaction for next year’s Irish Independent Arkle was 6/1 (Cashmans), 8/1 Ladbrokes), 10/1 (Paddy Power) and 12/1 William Hill.
MORE ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE QUOTES - NOLAND
PAUL NICHOLLS (TRAINER)
JOHN HALES (OWNER)
“I thought we’d lost it until he came up the hill - this is something special. I don’t actually know what happened after the last - I got caught up in hundreds of people and couldn’t see the screen, I hadn’t got a clue who had won the race. He won by a head didn’t he? All I know is he came up the hill, it’s absolutely fantastic.
“You have to remember he’s one of the few horses you’ll see at Cheltenham bred to go for the Derby. He looked like chaser when we bought him - we’re not really into the hurdling game, but we’ll take this as a bonus! I though Ruby Walsh rode a brilliant race. His tactics were perfect.”
FIRST RACE PLACED QUOTES
GIFFORD PHILOSOPHICAL IN DEFEAT
Nick Gifford came within inches of a first Festival success when Straw Bear, sporting J P McManus’s colours and ridden by Tony McCoy, was caught on the finishing line by the flying Noland.
“When he kicked for home I was thinking ‘here we go’ but you have to get there,” said Gifford. “I thought the one thing he would do would be to stay up the hill but he ran out of gas and although he jumped a bit flat at the last, I wouldn’t really have any excuses.
“It’s great to be in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham with a second and I’m over the moon at the moment although I suspect I might be bitterly disappointed tonight.”
Straw Bear received a 14/1 quote for next year’s Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle with Cashmans and a more generous 25/1 from William Hill and that event is very much the target.
“He’s proved he’s as good as we thought today and, God willing, I’d love to be back here for the Champion Hurdle. This was only his third run over hurdles and you’d like to think he would improve again with more experience and his attitude is his forte. We’ll think about Aintree and Punchestown but a lot would depend on the ground,” added Gifford.
The 5/2 favourite Sweet Wake finished fifth and his trainer Noel Meade said: “He’s having a very good blow. He just didn’t seem to get home. At the second last he was going well and at the last we still thought he had a great chance but he found very little and I don’t know why.”
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE
THE ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE 30/01/06
The Grade One Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has attracted a 113-strong entry, with the best of the two-mile novice hurdlers hoping to join recent winners like Hors La Loi III, Like-A-Butterfly, Brave Inca and last year’s hero Arcalis, on the race’s prestigious roll of honour.
Irish raiders have landed four of the last five contests. Sweet Wake, a Group Two winner on the Flat in Germany and unbeaten in two starts over hurdles, is one of 45 Irish-trained horses engaged this time.
The five-year-old is one of 10 possible runners for trainer Noel Meade
who landed this prize in 2000 with Sausalito Bay. The trainer could also
run the unbeaten Mr Nosie, winner of the Future Champions Novice Hurdle
at Leopardstown in December, and Iktitaf who captured the Grade One Royal
Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier that month.
Other possible Irish contenders include Blueberry Boy, Vic Venturi, Wanango, Bob Hall, Nicanor, Sublimity and Tommy Stack’s 2004 Irish Lincoln winner Tolpuddle, successful on his only hurdles start at Cork this month.
Arcalis broke a run of four consecutive wins for the Irish when successful last term and his trainer, Howard Johnson, could saddle Circassian, Estepona and Masafi.
One of the main home hopes is Noland, who won the Grade One Anglo Irish Bank Corporate Treasury Tolworth Hurdle last time for trainer Paul Nicholls. The Ditcheat handler has also engaged Natal, Desert Quest, Nippy des Mottes and Blu Teen.
Nicky Henderson won this with River Ceiriog (1986) and Flown (1992) and he has seven engaged, headed by Blue Shark, the impressive winner of a Grade One juvenile hurdle at Chepstow last month.
Acambo and recent Haydock Grade Two winner Nous Voila, are the pick of a seven-strong Pipe entry that also includes Buena Vista.
Straw Bear had Acambo in third when scoring nicely on his hurdles debut last time, to give trainer Nick Gifford a live Festival contender.
Boychuk won the Grade Two Anglo Irish Bank Novices’ Hurdle over the course and distance at The Open in November. The five-year-old is one of six Philip Hobbs-trained possibles, including Motorway and Massini’s Maguire.
Jonjo O’Neill has Refinement, winner of her last five starts, entered along with Manners, while Alan King’s entry includes Siberian Highness and Senorita Rumbalita.
Len Lungo could run the well-regarded Rasharrow, third in the 2005 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, while Orcadian, winner of the Group Three St Simon Stakes on the Flat in 2004, may take his chance for trainer James Eustace. John Quinn has entered useful flat recruit Crow Wood.
There are four French entries including the Francois Cottin-trained Overlut who landed a three-year-old hurdle for owner Paul Green at Auteuil in November.
Francois Doumen and Thierry Doumen saddled Stag Party and Wins Now respectively, when the pair disappointed behind Be Be King at Warwick this month.
Arnaud Chaille-Chaille sent out the five-year-old Zaiyad to a Grade Three hurdle success over two miles and three furlongs at Enghien in December, and the five-year-old followed up at Cagnes-Sur-Mer on New Year’s Eve.
2005-WINNER-ARCALIS 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham
Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee: SP-20/1
2004-WINNER-BRAVE INCA 6-11-07 Owner-Novices Syndicare; Trainer-Colm
Murphy IRE; Jockey-Barry Cash; SP-7/2 Fav
2003-WINNER-BACK IN FRONT 6-11-08 Owner-Dermot
Cox; Trainer-Edward O’Grady
IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-3/1 Fav
2002-WINNER-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY 8-11-03 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy
Roche IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/4 Fav
2001 - Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-SAUSALITO BAY 6-11-08 Owner-The High Street Racing Syndicate;
Trainer- Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-14/1
1999-WINNER-HORS LA LOI III 4-11-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Martin
Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-9/2
1998-WINNER-FRENCH BALLERINA 5-11-03 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Pat
Flynn IRE; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-10/1
1997-WINNER-SHADOW LEADER 6-11-08 Owner-James Blackshaw; Trainer-Charlie
Egerton; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-5/1
1996-WINNER-INDEFENCE 5-11-08 Owner-Indef Limited; Trainer-Jenny Pitman;
Jockey-Warren Marston; SP-25/1
1995-WINNER-TOURIST ATTRACTION 6-11-03 Owner-North Kildare Racing Club;
Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-25/1
1994-WINNER-ARCTIC KINSMAN 6-11-08 Owner-Rosie Hambro; Trainer-Nigel
Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-50/1
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