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  • 13:40 Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f

  • (Grade 3) £50,000 added 4yo+ 22 ran
  • Winner £28,135 2nd £10,600 3rd £5,305 4th £2,650
  • Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 5m 1.20s
  • Off time: 13:40:45

Party Rock wins Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle at Aintree.

Last Updated: 08/04/16 3:26pm

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Party Rock clears the last in the Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle

Party Rock clears the last in the Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle

Party Rock (33/1) made it third time lucky when winning the Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle at Aintree.

The nine-year-old had fallen two out when holding every chance two years ago and finished sixth last year but had pulled up on both of his last two starts, including on his seasonal reappearance just 20 days ago.

Always prominent under Sean Quinlan though, he got a nice lead as first Tycoon Prince and then Curious Carlos pulled their way to the front with both later paying the price for racing too keenly.

Tycoon Prince made a bad mistake as the pace hotted up, hampering leading fancy Blazer but the eventual winner was clear of the trouble although Starchitect appeared to be a big danger.

Party Rock wasn't very fluent at the second last and was switched to the stands' side by Quinlan and again bungled that flight opening the door to the patiently ridden Champagne At Tara but he regained his momentum to gallop on strongly and score by five lengths.

Champagne At Tara edged out Starchitect for minor honours with Sky Khan back in fourth.

"We thought he was jinxed coming here the last couple of years, so it's just fantastic. He's one of those horses that just gets under your skin. He's fabulous," said the winning trainer Jenny Candlish.

"He's become one of my favourite horses.

"When he ran in this race and fell it took him a long time to get over it and then we think he struck into himself last year.

"We were looking more to the three-mile handicap, not because we wanted to step him up in trip, but because he wasn't guaranteed to get in either race. We kept him in this and it's just brilliant."

"Our team at home has really clubbed together - I had a baby [Caoimhe] in February and everyone has pulled together.

"Long may our good form last. I have to pinch myself!"

Quinlan added: "Two years ago he was in with a shout at the second-last where he took a fall, and it was a while before he got over it. He lost his pace and his bottle a little bit.

"By the luck of the gods we ran him in this race having considered the three-miler. That was the plan while the ground was good, but as it got softer we came for this shorter race.

"Everyone wanted to be handy at the start, but no one wanted to make it, and so I decided I might as well pop out and ride the race to suit me. Sean Bowen came past me [on Curious Carlos] with Bryan Cooper [on Tycoon Prince], being rather keen, then they tried to slow it up down the back - I put a bit of pressure on them because I knew my horse would stay, and from the back of the second-last I made my way home, although he was looking around a little bit.

"He is a little idle, and we put cheekpieces on just to sharpen him up. He put down at the last and I thought 'oh no, something is going to do me now because he's been out in front for a while', but he picked up and kept on.

"I've ridden a lot for Sue and Harvey Smith this season, and Jennie and Alan [O'Keeffe] have been very good to me as well - the horses are coming right now and it's good to be on nice horses."

However, Quinlan was banned for four days for using his whip above the permitted level. He is suspended on April 22 and from April 27-29.

Connections are looking forward to sending Champagne At Tara novice chasing next season.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner J P McManus, commented: "He ran a blinder and was given a lovely ride. He was just beaten by a better horse so no excuses.

"He's learning how to settle and getting the hang of the job much better now. We'll look forward to going chasing next season with him.

"I'd think that would be it for the season unless when we ran him in something at Punchestown on the way home (to McManus's Martinstown Stud) for his break."

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