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International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 110y

  • (4yo+, 2m 110y, Class 1, 10 runners)
  • Winner £34,170 2nd £12,822 3rd £6,420 4th £3,198 5th £1,608 6th £804
  • Going: Good to Soft (National: Good to Soft, Good in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 3m 59.50s
  • Off time: 14:00:30
  • Last Updated: April 4 2014, 14:38 BST

Josses Hill landed the Grade Two International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices' Hurdle for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty.

Josses Hill: Won the opening race at Aintree under Barry Geraghty
Josses Hill: Won the opening race at Aintree under Barry Geraghty

The 6/4 favourite had had a hard race in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle behind Vautour but he cast aside any thoughts of that leaving its mark when running out a comprehensive winner of the opening race on the second day of the Grand National meeting.

Amore Alato set the early pace off what were surprisingly modest fractions and this led to the race developing into a sprint as they began the turn in and having made headway to lead with two flights to jump, the winner faced a serious challenge from Sgt Reckless.

Mick Channon's inmate appeared to be travelling well under Tony McCoy after keeping some way off the early pace and the pair battled generously over the last two flights.

After a brief dual, it was Josses Hill that was to ultimately find the greater finishing speed and McCoy accepted his fate on the second.

The pair were clear of third-placed, King Of The Picts.

Winning trainer, Nicky Henderson told Racing UK: "This has been a good race for us with Darlan and My Tent Or Yours winning it for us having finished second at Cheltenham.

"I think he's a chaser and we've a summer to think about that but he gallops as well as he looks and he deserved that after come up against another of mine in Royal Boy in the Tolworth."

Barry Geraghty added: "He's a gorgeous horse and a future chaser. Cheltenham probably took the edge off of him but he's been a bit more workmanlike today.

"He's very genuine and he tries. He didn't travel and jump as well as I'd like and he's had a busy enough time, but he really responds.

"I knew I'd stay well and soon after AP (McCoy, on Sgt Reckless) joined me, I knew I had the measure of him."

Mick Channon felt the rain that fell on Thursday night may have cost Sgt Reckless.

He said: "He has run well - he could have done without that bit of rain that fell last night - but there are no excuses.

"I think they (owners) are thinking of going chasing next season, but I'm not sure what we'll do. He has a lot of speed and a lot of class. He'll probably go to Punchestown."

Pat Shanahan, trainer of third-placed King Of The Picts, said: "I'm pleased, every time he has run in Grade One company he has been placed.

"We can freshen him up for the Grade One at Punchestown."