Midnight Prayer held off Shotgun Paddy in the National Hunt Chase
The Alan King-trained Midnight Prayer produced a really gutsy staying performance to win the National Hunt Chase.
Last Updated: 11/03/14 7:03pm
The four-mile event is the longest race at the Festival and it produced a dramatic finish as the 8/1 winner held off the late surge of Shotgun Paddy (7/2) by a neck.
The likes of Beeves, According To Trev and Rogue Angel were at the front early on before Midnight Prayer took closer order on the second circuit and then hit the front as they entered the home straight.
The 3/1 favourite Foxrock could not go with the winner but Shotgun Paddy loomed up at the last under Derek O'Connor.
However, Midnight Prayer put in a good leap there and got away from the fence better to poach a valuable couple of lengths and, although Shotgun Paddy finished with a flourish, the line came just in time for the nine-year-old winner.
Suntiep (9/1) was given a very patient ride by Patrick Mullins and raced at the back for much of the race before staying on well late on to finish a length and a quarter back in third.
The 100/1 shot Adrenalin Flight ran a great race to finish fourth, just ahead of the well-fancied Shutthefrontdoor.
Trainer Alan King said of the winner: "He was always in the right position and Josh gave him a beautiful ride.
"But my thoughts are with the owner-breeder John Reynolds, who got rushed away just an hour before the race with a massive heart attack. We just hope he's going to be all right."
Newman turns 22 on Monday and savoured his Festival success.
"Fantastic, it doesn't get any better than that," he said.
"All he did was jump and I put him where I wanted to. He did everything he needed to and put in a brilliant jump at the last, to put the race to bed.
"He jumped the first couple and got into a lovely rhythm, he bounced off the ground. For a big horse, he's neat and accurate.
"It was a long run-in. I could feel the other horse coming but my horse kept pulling more out. I didn't dare look across, I just hoped he'd held on."
King said that Midnight Prayer may go to Ayr next month for a tilt at the Scottish Grand National.