Monday 18 December 2017

Massini suffers fatal injury

James Lambe: 'Ayr is what we're aiming for'
James Lambe: 'Ayr is what we're aiming for'

Aiteen Thirtythree was gifted the Grade Two GPG Novices' Chase at Newbury yesterday after the well-regarded Tell Massini suffered a fatal injury at the fifth-last.

Tell Massini, Tom George's 8/11 favourite, supplemented a strong hurdling campaign with an impressive debut over the larger obstacles at Stratford, but slid agonisingly to the ground after the cross fence and vets later confirmed he had been put down.

Aiteen Thirtythree (13/2) has not yet lived up to the expectations of the Paul Nicholls stable, but his trainer is already hatching plans for next season after Noel Fehily kept him up to his work to finish 17 lengths clear.

"I know he has been a bit of a talking horse, but he has been so immature and even after he won at Cheltenham last time he had slightly sore shins," said Nicholls.

"We won't do a whole heap with him this season. He might come back here after Christmas and I'm not sure the RSA Chase at Cheltenham will suit him."

Nicholls and Fehily later doubled up in the bumper with Balding Banker (11/4). "He'll be like Aiteen Thirtythree really -- he's from a staying family and will go over hurdles from now," he said.

Nicky Henderson was prepared to forgive and forget a couple of careless errors by Finian's Rainbow en route to a comprehensive 12-length victory in the Rooney/Hall Novices' Chase.

Taking on just two opponents, exuberance got the better of the 2/5 favourite in the back straight, but he was more pragmatic from there as Barry Geraghty eased him down to finish with plenty in hand of Hell's Bay.

"I'd like to think he was very good, and the Arkle is there, so I hope he is top-class. I'm almost certain he'll stay at two miles," said Henderson

Tony McCoy was at his uncompromising best in the CSP Novices' Handicap Hurdle as he helped 2/1 favourite Full Of Joy to keep Vagrant Emperor at bay.

At Thurles, meanwhile, Elysian Rock landed the Glen Chase. Mouse Morris' six-year-old got the better of Apt Approach and Catch Me in an exciting finish to the three-mile affair.

Apt Approach rallied strongly to move back in front after the last. But Elysian Rock (11/2) had a shade more left in the tank on the run-in and came home a length clear under Martin Ferris.

However, it was Dessie Hughes who took the training honours as he recorded a treble. The Curragh trainer's first success came via the long-absent Rick, which proved too strong for Oscar Time in the Rock Of Cashel Hurdle.

Paddy Flood was aboard that winner and he was also in the plate for the victory of Western Charmer, which showed a return to form to beat Uncle Junior in the beginners chase.

The Hughes' hat-trick was rounded off in the mares maiden hurdle as Bryan Cooper ensured well-supported favourite Quiet Thought came home in front of Academy Rose.

Irish Independent

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