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Wincanton

  • 15:45 Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle 2m

  • (Grade 2) £70,000 added 4yo+ 5 ran
  • Winner £39,907 2nd £14,973 3rd £7,497 4th £3,738
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 3m 43.30s
  • Off time: 15:45:34

Chief rules in Kingwell

Festival hope scrapes home in Wincanton trial

Last Updated: 19/02/11 6:57pm

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Mille Chief: Prevailed in a gripping finish

Mille Chief: Prevailed in a gripping finish

Champion Hurdle hope Mille Chief just pipped Celestial Halo in the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

Alan King's five-year-old was travelling really well under Robert Thornton turning for home and it looked a case of how comfortably he would win.

But he found Celestial Halo in resilient mood all the way up the home straight and was not about to let Mille Chief past without a fight.

He looked like he may have done enough as well but he was not fluent at the last hurdle and that handed the advantage back to Thornton, who drove his mount to a thrilling success by a nose with the pair 18 lengths clear of Ronaldo Mottes.

"I thought I had it won at the last but fair play to Celestial Halo, he stuck at it and battled away well," Thornton told Racing UK.

"That ground has probably blunted our speed. We were tanking a long a bit and I didn't want Overturn to get away from me or give any of them any more start than necessary."

"I was really pleased with that. It rode a proper race as well and we went a good solid gallop

"I picked up properly from the back of the last and so did Celestial Halo. All credit to my lad, he's shown he's not just a bridle, pace horse. He's got a bit of fight about him too.

"We used to be worried about him staying two miles properly because he was that quick.

"He's lightning quick and sometimes clips the top bar, but that's what you need in a proper Champion Hurdle.

"He is going the right way. We are going the right way and deserve to take our chance."

Overturn and Silviniaco Conti both dropped away as Mille Chief remains 12-1 for the Champion at Cheltenham in March at Sky Bet.

Thornton and King completed a treble on the card thanks to wins from Jetnova (4-1) and Smad Place (1-4).

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