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Cheltenham

  • 14:55 Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle 2m 110y

  • (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) £21,500 added 4yo+ 9 ran
  • Winner £12,244 2nd £4,595 3rd £2,300 4th £1,146
  • Going: Good; Cross Country Firm-Good to Firm in plcs.
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 3m 59.50s
  • Off time: 14:55:59

Full result

14:55 Cheltenham Result 11th November 2011
Pos Draw Dist Horse Weight Jockey Trainer Age SP
1st Steps To Freedom (IRE) 11-7 R M Power Mrs J Harrington 5 11/8f
Held up towards rear, headway approaching 3 out, challenged after last, driven ahead close home opened 11/8 touched 11/8 £18000-£12000 £3000-£2000(x2) £1500-£1000(x2) £600-£400(x4) £1400-£1000 £11000-£8000 £8250-£6000 £2750-£2000(x4) £1375-£1000 £1100-£800(x18) £550-£400(x4) £5000-£4000 £1250-£1000
2nd nk Prospect Wells (FR) 11-4 D A Jacob P F Nicholls 6 9/2
Held up in touch in mid-division, closed from 5th, mistake 3 out, challenged last, soon led, headed close home opened 4/1 touched 9/2 £3000-£600 £2250-£500
3rd Ericht (IRE) 11-0 B J Geraghty N J Henderson 5 3/1
Prominent, went 2nd 5th, hit 3 out, led approaching last, headed flat, no extra towards finish opened 4/1 touched 4/1 £4500-£1000 £3500-£1000
4th 7 Flycorn (IRE) 11-4 J L Cullen T Hogan 5 33/1
Mid-division, hit 3rd, headway after 3 out, ridden after next, went 4th last, weakened flat opened 25/1 touched 33/1
5th ¾ Ohio Gold (IRE) 11-0 J Tizzard C L Tizzard 5 9/1
Tracked leaders, not fluent 3rd or 3 out, ridden after 2 out, weakened flat opened 11/1 touched 11/1 £4000-£360 £5000-£500 £9000-£1000
6th 9 Redera (IRE) 11-7 R Walsh A J Martin 5 12/1
Held up in last pair, outpaced 3 out, no impression, never in contention opened 12/1 touched 12/1
7th Absolutlyfantastic 11-7 A E Lynch H De Bromhead 4 16/1
Led, ridden after 2 out, headed approaching last where mistake, weakened flat opened 14/1 touched 20/1
8th 11 Sublime Talent (IRE) 11-4 Paul Moloney Evan Williams 5 33/1
Held up in last pair, lost touch 3 out opened 28/1 touched 33/1
9th 33 Gumball 11-0 D Elsworth P R Webber 6 100/1
Took keen hold, tracked leader after 1st until mistake 5th, awkward 3 out, soon lost place, tailed off opened 80/1 touched 100/1

Betting breakdown

Tote Win: £2.40 Tote Place: £1.10,2.00,1.50
Straight Forecast: £8.02 Exacta: £7.40 Trifecta: £13.40 Swingers: 1&2:1.90 2&3:3.00 1&3:1.40

Jackpot: £50,000.00, Pool: £32834.07, 1.0 winning tickets
Placepot: £25.90, Pool: £228342.7, 6414.59 winning tickets
Quadpot: £7.30, Pool: £10186.95, 1025.05 winning tickets

Verdict

A race won in the last two years by Cue Card and Loosen My Load and saw a game performance from STEPS TO FREEDOM who edged out the less-experienced (at least over hurdles) Prospect Wells. Steps To Freedom, a Grade Two bumper winner and subsequently fourth in a Listed race on the Flat, has made a smooth transition to hurdling and showed a good attitude to make it three out of three. He reportedly needs decent ground so may be put away now until the Festival where the Supreme Novices is likely to be his target; whether he is good enough to win that race is another matter entirely but he will deserve his place in the field. Prospect Wells was also a smart sort on the level, finishing second in a Group One for Andre Fabre and winning a Listed race for Howard Johnson. He had rather lost his way for his previous handler but had impressed when making a winning start over hurdles for new connections and was only just run out of this close home. He made a couple of mistakes, including at the second last, but jumped well in the main and looks capable of winning at this level; he won over a mile and a half on the Flat and may stay further. Ericht is held in high regard and was sent off favourite for the Champion Bumper despite his trainer being reluctant to run his charge in the race. He attracted support on his first run since and connections will have been pleased enough with his performance where he was essentially outspeeded by a couple of Flat-breds. It would be no surprise if he needed the run - as well as the experience - and he can be expected to derive considerable improvement from the outing; he's probably the horse to take from the race as the best long-term prospect. The experienced Flycorn travelled well for a long way and can win more races at a less exalted level. Ohio Gold - eighth in the Neptune in March - also did enough to think that he can win races although he probably won't come into his own until he's sent over fences. Redera, a winner of a couple of minor handicaps, was outclassed in this company. Absolutlyfantastic had lost his unbeaten record at the hands of a promising individual last time and appeared to have his limitations exposed here, weakening out of contention having cut out much of the running.