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Aintree

  • 15:10 John Smith's Melling Chase 2m 4f

  • (grade 1) £200,000 added 5yo+ 10 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good-Good to Soft in places on National course.
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 2.10s
  • Off time: 15:13:39

The Voy Done Good

By Tom Peacock, PA Sport.   Last Updated: 03/04/09 5:22pm

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Voy Por Ustedes (centre) jumps to the front.

Voy Por Ustedes (centre) jumps to the front.

Owner Sir Robert Ogden received a timely boost as Voy Por Ustedes racked up a fifth success at the top flight with back-to-back wins in the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree.

Just 24 hours earlier, the multi-millionaire businessman suffered a crushing blow as Grade One winner Exotic Dancer died after finishing second the totesport Bowl.

His loss left a gaping hole in Ogden's powerful string, but Voy Por Ustedes provided a significant reminder of the highs of the sport by fending off Irish raider Schindlers Hunt in a rousing finish.

The eight-year-old has long flown Ogden's flag at the top level and twice won at the Cheltenham Festival, but he lost out there last month when finding Imperial Commander too strong in the Ryanair Chase.

While he eased home from Master Minded in the Melling Chase last spring, the 11-8 favourite was on this occasion made to pull out all of the stops.

Robert 'Choc' Thornton was hard at work on the market leader approaching the third-last as the field tried to get on terms with Nacarat, who almost repeated his Racing Post Chase win by galloping his rivals into the ground.

It took until the final fence for the winner to assert, after which Voy Por Ustedes showed steely determination to hold off Schindlers Hunt, with the pair pulling clear of Nacarat.

Trainer Alan King said: "I'm nearly in tears. My God he's tough and what a great ride by Choc.

"It is a great result for the whole team, and especially Sir Robert - it shows the ups and downs of racing.

"He has been very fresh and well at home. He had a pop at home on Monday and was his usual exuberant self.

"He has been at the top now for three seasons and not many do that - he is very special.

"He looked well beaten turning in and I thought he needed to meet the three fences in the straight well, and he met them all great.

"If you are in a battle, he is one horse you want on your side as he will never shirk it.

"When he winged the last I knew we had a chance. Thankfully it went our way and it was a tremendous horse race."

The win also netted connections the first prize of £200,000 in the points-led Order of Merit prize.

King added: "We will see about plans, but I am not sure I can take many more races like that this year!

"There are lots of options next season and we may well have another crack at the King George - but we will see what Sir Robert and his team want to do."

Thornton added: "It was certainly fairly exciting. I was flat-out leaving the back, which was why he missed the last one down there.

"He's come back on the bridle again and then AP (McCoy) has squeezed on the home turn and I'm flat-out again.

"I thought jumping the second-last I was getting back into it. Schindlers Hunt coming up on the outside has helped me. He gave me something to race with.

"My lad has won it with his jumping at the last and then he was always just holding him.

"He's been a great servant - he's won an Arkle, a Queen Mother, two of these and five Grade Ones - and has paid for my house."

Schindlers Hunt was three-quarters of length behind Voy Por Ustedes at Cheltenham and closed the gap to a head under Paddy Flood.

Trainer Dessie Hughes said: "He was almost on top of the second-last and he looked at the last for a stride and did well to recover.

"I don't think there's anything for him at Punchestown and he'll probably have a break."

Nacarat, who was another four and a half lengths away in third, is likely to return to three miles next winter.

Trainer Tom George said: "He has run a fantastic race and done us very well this season.

"He is very tough and next season we will aim for the King George - three miles around Kempton is his trip."

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