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  • Menorah Fells Oaksey Rivals

bet365 Oaksey Chase (Listed) 2m 6f

  • (5yo+, 2m 6f, Class 1, 5 runners)
  • Winner £28,475 2nd £10,685 3rd £5,350 4th £2,665 5th £1,340 6th £670
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 44.30s
  • Off time: 14:40:43
  • Last Updated: April 26 2014, 15:24 BST

Richard Johnson and Menorah (11/4) turned the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown into a procession as they ran out easy winners.

Menorah and Richard Johnson win the Oaksey Steeple Chase
Menorah and Richard Johnson win the Oaksey Steeple Chase

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There was little change to the order for the first circuit in this two mile six furlong contest with the field content to allow Gullinbursti and Aidan Coleman an uncontested lead.

  • Profiles

Coleman started to increase the tempo approaching the Railway Fences and Johnson was quick to cover the move and an extravagant leap from the King's Theatre gelding was enough to take him to the front.

Johnson took the race by the scruff of the neck at that stage and opened up a commanding advantage as he turned for home.

Hunt Ball emerged from the pack to try and give chase but his challenge petered out quickly after a mistake at the Pond Fence and he failed to wrestle second place from Gullinbursti who finished some 17 lengths adrift of the winner.

It had been a disappointing season for Menorah who was winning his first race in 16 months and had pulled up in the King George on his reappearance before beating one home in the Ryanair but this return to his best saw Sky Bet halve his price to 33/1 for the Kempton contest and cut him to 20s from 33/1 for the Cheltenham Festival race.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Menorah bounced back to form after a below par season with a spectacular performance. If he could build on this next year he could yet be a player in some good races next season." 

Winning trainer Philip Hobbs said: "He was fantastic today. He has been frustrating, but not as frustrating as most, as he is a Cheltenham Festival winner. He's a very good horse, but he hasn't really got it together.

"He had an issue with his knee before Christmas and didn't run until the King George. He's only had half a season, unfortunately.

"I suppose the King George is a possibility again (next season). I don't know if that's realistic or not, but we've always thought three miles might suit him. Maybe the Charlie Hall Chase (at Wetherby) at the end of October might be a good place to start him."

Emma Lavelle is already eyeing a trip to Aintree next spring with Gullinbursti.

She said: "I'm delighted with him. The ground was softer than ideal and the ultimate aim with him next year will be the Topham as he's such a good jumper.

"We've won over a half a million in prize money this season but we've been so close on so many other occasions. We've been knocking on the door in big races, they just wont let us in, so that in respect it's been a bit frustrating."