Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m 110y

  • (4yo+, 2m 110y, Class 1, 8 runners)
  • Winner £14,238 2nd £5,342 3rd £2,675 4th £1,332 5th £670 6th £335
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places, Cross Country G/S,Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 28.10s
  • Off time: 14:27:28

Full Result

14:25 Cheltenham
Pos Dist Horse Trainer Age Weight Jockey SP
1st 2 Dodging Bullets P F Nicholls 4 11-7 R Walsh 5/4f
SP 5/4f Set steady pace, quickened before last, hit last, driven and stayed on run-in £10000-£8000 £5000-£4000 £2500-£2000(x2) £1500-£1200 £1000-£800(x5) £750-£600(x2) £625-£500 £1250-£1000(x2) £500-£400(x6)
2nd 8 River Maigue (IRE) N J Henderson 5 11-0 B J Geraghty 4/1
SP 4/1 Took keen hold, chased leading pair, driven before last, stayed on to 2nd run-in, kept on in closing stages, never quite able to challenge opened 9/2
3rd 1 Court Minstrel (IRE) Evan Williams 5 11-7 Paul Moloney 6/1
SP 6/1 Took keen hold, held up, hit 3rd, headway on inside when not clear run approaching 2 out, switched right before last, bumped and hampered soon after last, stayed on well run-in, went 3rd, never able to challenge £13000-£2000 £4000-£420 £2800-£400 £3000-£420
4th ½ 6 Duke Of Navan (IRE) N G Richards 4 11-4 D N Russell 25/1
SP 25/1 Went right 1st, took keen hold, headway to chase winner after 2nd, challenged 3 out, every chance next, ridden and unable to quicken before last, lost 2nd run-in, no impression, lost 3rd towards finish opened 20/1
5th 4 Run With The Wind (IRE) M Hourigan 6 11-7 Timmy Murphy 12/1
SP 12/1 Held up in last pair in steadily run race, headway approaching 2 out, outpaced in 6th before last, ridden and no impression run-in opened 14/1
6th ½ 3 Magic Spear (IRE) C A Murphy 6 11-7 R M Power 20/1
SP 20/1 Chased winner until after 2nd, chased leading pair, every chance 2 out, ridden and unable to quicken before last, stayed on same pace and no impression run-in opened 25/1
7th 10 7 Tominator Jonjo O'Neill 5 11-4 A P McCoy 4/1
SP 4/1 Took keen hold, not fluent, went left and bumped 1st, raced wide in touch, hit 4th, headway when mistake 2 out, weakened soon after opened 5/1 £5000-£1000 £4000-£800 £2700-£600 £2500-£500(x2)
8th 21 5 Ted Dolly (IRE) E U Hales 8 11-7 R Thornton 100/1
SP 100/1 Took keen hold, chased leaders, not fluent 3 out, soon ridden, weakening when hit next, tailed off

Betting Breakdown

Tote Win £2.10 Tote Place £1.10 £1.80 £1.80 Straight Forecast £6.66 Exacta £6.80 Trifecta £33.90 Swingers 1&2 £1.70, 2&3 £5.40, 1&3 £2.30

Jackpot £41,537.12 carried forward to Cheltenham, 17th Nov
Placepot £157.70, Pool: £231859.94, 1073.16 winning tickets
Quadpot £48.80, Pool: £12393.78, 187.81 winning tickets

Analysis

DODGING BULLETS was given a sensible ride from the front by Ruby Walsh, setting tardy fractions before quickening ahead when stoked up on the run to the final flight. He jumped the last two lengths clear and just about maintained that margin all the way to the line. Trainer Paul Nicholls suggested afterwards that a move out of novice company to the Christmas Hurdle might be his next target and the four-year-old certainly seems to have moved forwards for the benefit of a pre-season wind operation. River Maigue did best of the rest and stayed on in a manner that suggested he would have been better served a faster earlier pace. Long term, he has the appearance of a fine chasing prospect. Court Minstrel emerges with the worst of the hard-luck stories, Paul Moloney finding himself poorly positioned on a horse travelling strongly when the pace suddenly changed two out. He was squeezed on the run to the final flight and lost ground, but stayed on steadily in the last 150 yards to snatch third. Given that he also took a pull in the early stages, Court Minstrel is surely worth another chance in a race run at a brisker gallop.