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Josses Hill claims the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree

Updated: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 14:36 | Comments

Josses Hill saw off the challenge of Sgt Reckless at Aintree
Josses Hill saw off the challenge of Sgt Reckless at Aintree

Cheltenham Festival runner-up Josses Hill went one better with an authoritative display under Barry Geraghty in the International Festival For Business 2014 Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree.

Having found only the hugely-impressive Vautour too strong in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park last month, the Nicky Henderson-trained Josses Hill was a 6-4 favourite for his Grade Two assignment on Merseyside.

The well-backed market-leader moved sweetly into the home straight, but Supreme fourth Sgt Reckless quickly loomed up as a big danger.

Mick Channon's charge looked likely to come out on top after joining Josses Hill at the head of affairs after jumping the second last, but the Seven Barrows runner was in control jumping the final obstacle and stayed on best on the run-in to score by six lengths.

Irish raider King Of The Picts finished off his race strongly to pick up minor honours in third.

Geraghty said: "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.

"He met a very good horse at Cheltenham and I think he's a horse with a massive future over fences."

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."

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