Friday 28 July 2017

Robbie Power completes big-race double as Fox Norton powers to win in the Melling Chase

Fox Norton ridden by jockey Robbie Power on the way to winning the JLT Melling Chase on Ladies Day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree
Fox Norton ridden by jockey Robbie Power on the way to winning the JLT Melling Chase on Ladies Day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree

Keith Hamer

Fox Norton finally came of age on the big stage as he relished a step up in trip to run out a decisive winner of the JLT Melling Chase.

After just failing to reel in Special Tiara in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the seven-year-old gained a deserved first Grade One on his first try over two and a half miles.

Having moved well throughout the race, he cruised into contention behind Sub Lieutenant and Kylemore Lough under Robbie Power on the approach to the third-last.

Although with his stamina to prove, the Colin Tizzard-trained 4-1 winner was kicked on over two out and continued to pour on the pressure on the run to the final fence with his rivals appearing to be toiling in behind.

With a bold leap over the last Power only needed to keep his mount up to the task, before easing him down close to the line and claiming victory by six lengths from favourite Sub Lieutenant.

The victory completed a big-race double on the day for Power, Tizzard and winning owners Alan and Ann Potts after they combined to take the Crabbie's Top Novices' Hurdle with Pingshou earlier on the card.

Gold Cup-winning rider Power said: "It's fantastic, it's a pleasure to be riding horses like this.

"He ran a cracker in the Champion Chase and was unlucky.

"When I schooled him at Colin's last week I had no doubt two and a half miles would play to his strengths and he's travelled everywhere, jumped from fence to fence.

"He was never in any danger and running down to the last he met it well.

"He's a very classy horse and he could well be a King George horse, he could be as good over further, he's a very relaxed horse and has a great cruising speed. If we got nice ground that could be the race for him."

Tizzard said: "It's lovely when this happens, especially after what it was like at Cheltenham, that was hard work.

"This boy could have won the Champion Chase, there wasn't much in it and he's got better with the trip, I think.

"It took all of two miles last year for him to get into third in the Arkle. He's not very fast at home when you think he would be but I think he'll make up into a King George horse.

"That's seven Grade Ones this season which is lovely. We had a good time early in the season and then we had to go through a bit of pain, but that's all gone now."

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