Top Notch performance in Peterborough Chase

Top Notch: Faces tough test at Ascot
Top Notch: Faces tough test at Ascot

Top Notch won his second Grade Two Fitzdares Peterborough Chase but for the first time at Huntingdon on Sunday.

A winner of the race at Taunton when the race was rearranged two years ago, Top Notch added his name to the roll of honour at the traditional venue of the contest with a typically gutsy effort.

La Bague Au Roi cut out much of the running, but the tenacious Top Notch didn't give her much rope and sneaked up the inside towards the business end of the race.

He soon had her measure and the biggest threat came from an unlikely source with the 100/1 outsider Kauto Riko running on really well for second.

Daryl Jacob and Top Notch had the race in safe keeping by then, though, and they held on by three parts of a length.

Winning trainer Nicky Henderson said: "It is great that he has come back and won this. If the general election was this morning this fellow would be Prime Minister because everybody just loves him.

"If you said what is the most popular stalwart in the place - I know there are better horses - this fellow would be the one, as he doesn't know how to do anything wrong.

"You can go hurdling, you can go three miles or two miles, but you wouldn't find a nicer person.

"You only need 10 horses like him and I'd love life.

"He has been placed in a Triumph Hurdle and he never looked remotely like a steeplechaser as he is not big enough, but he has just got a heart of gold.

"They had gone hard which suits, as he stays. He had a tongue tie on him today as Nico (de Boinville) thought at Aintree he was a little bit raspy.

"He had worn a tongue tie at home, but he wasn't sure about it early in the race and he wasn't quite facing it. He is like a terrier and as soon as the scrap starts we are in good shape. If we can smell the rat he will get there."

The Lambourn handler earmarked the recently-upgraded Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton next month as the next port of call for Top Notch.

Henderson added: "That's a good enough race (Silviniaco Conti) for him, but we will work him and see how he is and he will tell us where he wants to go."

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