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  • 13:40 Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase 2m 3f 200y

  • (Grade 1) £100,000 added 5yo+ 8 ran
  • Winner £56,270 2nd £21,200 3rd £10,610 4th £5,300
  • Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 5m 9.18s
  • Off time: 13:41:41

Harry Whittington's Arzal wins Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree

Last Updated: 07/04/16 2:18pm

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Gavin Sheehan and Arzal ran out impressive winners

Gavin Sheehan and Arzal ran out impressive winners

Arzal produced a typically bold front-running display to win the Grade One Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree

The market suggested that the step up in trip would not be an issue for the six-year-old who was sent off at 4/1 and so it proved as Gavin Sheehan gave Harry Whittington's stable star a typically aggressive yard.

It appeared as though he may be tiring slightly as L'Ami Serge closed up to challenge two from home but Sheehan kicked again and quickly extended a lead which was eight lengths at the line.

Nothing else got into the race with Arkle Trophy runner-up Sizing John, sent off the 11/4 favourite, seeing off Bouvreuil for minor honours, some 16 lengths behind the runner-up.

Jumping again proved Garde La Victoire's Achilles Heel although he appeared to be held when falling.

Whittington said: "He did have a temperature about two weeks before Cheltenham so that helped us make our mind up. He was fine about a week before Cheltenham - it just gave us an excuse to miss Cheltenham.

"I've been pretty worried, we've had a fantastic season and it is great credit to the team and I'm lucky to have good people around me and good horsemen riding out. I was just a little bit worried about our last three or four weeks.

"I was going into it with no expectations, but once he jumped the first I was pretty happy.

"It's amazing for the whole team. I can't tell you how much of a team effort it has been at home. It has been way beyond my expectations and this has been the icing on the cake."

Of immediate plans for the winner, Whittington added: "That will be it (for the season), for sure. I would think he might end up back here for the Old Roan as his next target. He loves a flat, left-handed, galloping track.

"That is where he is at his best and he gets into a really good rhythm. The likes of Aintree and Doncaster suit him well, so they are the tracks we will stick to."

Anthony Bromley, racing manager for L'Ami Serge's owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said "He went very well.

"The winner was obviously the only horse not to run at Cheltenham, that's always a factor coming here, especially as there is only a three-week gap this year.

"That will be him done for the season, as he needs to go left-handed, there is no point thinking about Punchestown.

"We will probably stick to two and a half miles next season. He definitely won't be going back in trip, anyway.

"He has been placed at two festivals now and we are very proud him."

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