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Splash of Ginge grabs Betfair Hurdle glory at Newbury

Updated: Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 16:46 | Comments

Splash of Ginge with jockey Ryan Hatch leading the field at Newbury
Splash of Ginge with jockey Ryan Hatch leading the field at Newbury

Splash Of Ginge put up a game front-running display to spring a 33-1 surprise in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Ryan Hatch made the most of his 7lb claim and his horse's light weight to land the spoils for the Nigel Twiston-Davies team.

Splash Of Ginge kept on strongly from the final flight to take the valuable and prestigious handicap by a length and three-quarters from Dell' Arca (15-2).

Irish Saint (6-1 favourite) was third and Cheltenian (8-1) fourth.

Smart staying hurdler Smad Place (9-4) landed his second success over fences with a solid performance in the IJF 50th Anniversary Novices' Chase.

Placed in the last two World Hurdles at Cheltenham, the Alan King-trained grey got off the mark over the bigger obstacles at the second attempt at Exeter in November.

Absent since then, he staked his claim for the RSA Chase at next month's Festival with a two-length verdict over Sam Winner. Mendip Express, the 11-10 favourite, was disappointing, finishing 31 lengths away in third.

King said: "I knew he wouldn't be bothered by the ground and I was really pleased with that.

"There's plenty of time now before the RSA."

Earlier, Harry Topper demonstrated his endless reserves of stamina with an emphatic victory in a slog for the Betfair Denman Chase.

Kim Bailey's seven-year-old pulled clear in the home straight to slam Al Ferof by 25 lengths.

Katenko set the pace until just before the run for home where Jason Maguire, who had driven Harry Topper (7-2) to keep up to his work, set sail for the line.

Al Ferof, the 5-4 favourite, was soon under pressure and back peddling as Harry Topper revelled in the ground.

"It's great for the horse. We've believed in him from day one. He loves this ground and that makes a huge difference," said Bailey.

"He tries. I know he dropped the bit and was given a couple of cracks down the far side, but once he gets going he's as tough as they come.

"I've always believed in him and thankfully he's come right.

"We schooled him this morning over five fences and the last time I did that was when Master Oats won the Gold Cup all those years ago. They are similar horses with similar attitudes.

"He proved when he ran at Sandown he doesn't go on quicker ground and he won't go to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup unless it's soft and he doesn't have to go anywhere."

Nicholls said of Al Ferof: "Daryl (Jacob) said he travelled very well but ran out of stamina.

"When Daryl got off he said the Ryanair. John Hales (owner) is keen to go for the Gold Cup, but I'm not sure he's an out-and-out stayer, certainly in that ground. We'll have to sit down and have a think about it."

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