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Sandown Park

  • 14:25 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle 2m 3f 173y

  • (Grade 2) (Registered As The Winter Novices' Hurdle) £30,000 added 4yo+ 7 ran
  • Winner £17,085 2nd £6,411 3rd £3,210 4th £1,599
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 4m 59.75s
  • Off time: 14:25:20

Messire des Obeaux takes Sandown thriller from Ballyandy

Last Updated: 02/12/16 6:43pm

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Daryl Jacob and Messire Des Obeaux (right) get the best of a tussle with Cultivator (l) and Ballyandy (c) to win the Neptune Investment Hurdle.

Daryl Jacob and Messire Des Obeaux (right) get the best of a tussle with Cultivator (l) and Ballyandy (c) to win the Neptune Investment Hurdle.

Messire des Obeaux came from an improbable-looking spot to deny Ballyandy and Cultivator in the main event at Sandown on Friday, the Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

The Grade Two event, better known as the Winter Novices' Hurdle, has a decent history with the likes of Fingal Bay and Taquin Du Seuil successful in recent years.

Well supported in opposition to favourite Ballyandy - the winner of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last season - the 9/4 second-favourite looked to have been left behind when Cultivator hit the front going well before two out.

But Cultivator was untidy at that flight, and as Ballyandy tried to rally, Daryl Jacob brought the Alan King-trained winner down the outside to throw down another challenge.

Going to the last, any of the three could still have got their heads in front, but Messire des Obeaux dug deep for Jacob and edged ahead to deny Ballyandy by half a length.

Jacob said: "They've just done me for toe between the second-last and the last, but he's a gorgeous horse who stays well and when the going gets tough, he gets going."

King added: "He was very game. I thought between the last two he was going to run very well but finish third, but then he knuckled down well.

"That's the first time he's had a gun put to his head and he was giving 7lb to Ballyandy so it was a good performance.

"I thought it was a cracking renewal of the Winter Hurdle. I've won it a few times before but, to me, this year had the most depth.

"He's a horse that will get better as he's a big, rangy horse.

"The Challow Hurdle (Newbury) would seem the obvious place to go but the only thing that would put me off is my last few runners have been lapped in it.

"I should think he'd be a bit better again on even softer ground as he likes plenty of juice. If he didn't go to Newbury he'd go to Warwick for the Leamington (Novices' Hurdle).

"I wouldn't be surprised if come March, we're looking at the three-miler (Albert Bartlett)."

Dino soars to win

Stablemate Dino Velvet earlier received quotes for the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival after he atoned for a late fall on his Cheltenham debut with victory in the Beazley Insurance Introductory Juvenile Hurdle.

Despite having mistimed the final flight, the 8-11 favourite still crossed the line eight lengths clear of Buckle Street.

King said: "I like the way he finished off.

"Although he had schooled very well at home, he just remembered that fall as he jumped the first couple very big.

"We always wanted to try and get a bit of cover and the aim was to switch him off as at Cheltenham he was doing a bit too much and he fell through tiredness as much as anything.

"He missed that (second-last) and he run around a bit going to the last but that was just greenness.

"He might run with a penalty somewhere. I just wanted to get this out the way."

Jockey Jonathan Moore had more than one reason to celebrate the five-length victory of the Paul Morgan-trained Limited Reserve (10-1) in the Aspen Insurance Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Moore said: "That was only my second ride at Sandown and to get a winner is great.

"That was my 60th winner so I can't claim in Ireland any more, so it is nice to celebrate that milestone."

More Buck's (3-1) could become a more frequent visitor to the track following his front-running success in the Coldunell Finance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old vindicated the decision not to go for the Grand Sefton at Aintree on Saturday when he held off Azure Fly by half a length on his first try at three miles.

It was also More Buck's' third victory from four starts this season.

Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: "He lobs away in front quite happily, but then when you go for him he goes for 100 yards then pricks his ears.

"Will Biddick said after the last fence he just idled.

"It was nice he stayed three miles as that gives him options. He could well come back for the military races here as his owner (Andy Stewart) likes supporting them."

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