Top Notch by name and na­ture as he thun­ders As­cot win

Sunday Sun - - Racing -

TOP Notch brushed away the op­po­si­tion in the straight to run out an easy win­ner of the Christy 1965 Chase at As­cot.

Lead­ing be­fore the sec­ond-last flight, Nicky Hen­der­son’s six-year-old soon put the race to bed and gal­loped clear.

Smad Place was prom­i­nent early on while last year’s win­ner Royal Re­gatta forced his way into the lead af­ter be­ing slowly away from a stand­ing start.

Nico de Boinville had Top Notch in the per­fect po­si­tion and the 5-2 joint­favourite went on to score by eight lengths from Dou­ble Shuf­fle for own­ers Simon Mu­nir and Isaac Souede. Frodon was another two and a quar­ter lengths away in third.

De Boinville said: “He’s a leg­end – what an ab­so­lute hero.

“He’s all heart and kept find­ing up the hill.

“He’s given me a re­ally nice feel­ing there.”

Top Notch was cut to odds of around 6-1 about win­ning the Ryanair Chase at the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val.

Hen­der­son said: “If you had a poll of the most pop­u­lar horse in the place, he would win.

“Ev­ery­body loves him. You could not have a nicer horse.

“He would die for you and he has been like that all his life.

“I never thought he would jump a fence as they must look enor­mous to him.

“He is just game, tough and loves it. He came back in fat­ter than me. These horses are just tak­ing a run.

“He didn’t run par­tic­u­larly well when he was third of three (over hur­dles) at Ain­tree (on Novem­ber 11).

“It was all well say­ing it was fine but it was still a lit­tle bit dis­ap­point­ing.

“I think this is his per­fect trip. One day we might have a peep at three (miles). He goes on any ground and Nico de Boinville rid­ing Top Notch clear the last to win The Christy 1965 Steeple Chase at As­cot race­course yes­ter­day. any way round. A lot of horses are more tal­ented, but no­body puts more in than he does.”

Mean­while at Hay­dock, re­lent­less and re­morse­less were suit­able ad­jec­tives to de­scribe Bristol De Mai’s spec­tac­u­lar vic­tory in the Bet­fair Chase.

The Nigel Twis­ton-Davies-trained six-year-old had been ear­marked as a likely con­tender for the Grade One con­test with a sim­i­lar de­mo­li­tion job in Hay­dock’s Pe­ter Marsh Chase all the way back in Jan­uary.

Hav­ing sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced his claims with a come­back vic­tory in the Char­lie Hall at Wetherby, he was an 11-10 favourite to make a suc­cess­ful re­turn to the New­ton-le-Wil­lows cir­cuit. Those who took the cramped odds will have had few con­cerns, with the bold-jump­ing grey de­vour­ing the Mersey­side mud in the hands of Daryl Ja­cob and pass­ing the post a jaw­drop­ping 57 lengths clear of Cue Card.

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