Sam Winner flops behind Marsh Warbler in Finale
Report: Chepstow, Saturday
Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m½f, 4yo
TRIUMPH HURDLE favourite Sam Winner failed to fire when he was beaten into fourth behind 8-1 winner Marsh Warbler in the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday.
Sent off the 8-13 favourite, Sam Winner was being niggled along relatively early by Tony McCoy and was put in his place by the Brian Ellison-trained Marsh Warbler, who is 8-1 for theTriumph with Totesport and Betfred and 12-1 with Bet365. Sam Winner, 4-1 for the JCB-sponsored Triumph before the race, was eased to a general 10-1.
Houblon Des Obeaux, a 20-1 shot, claimed second place, with 9-4 chance Smad Place in third.
Marsh Warbler, who has now won three of his four starts over hurdles, was ridden by Fearghal Davis, who, like Ellison, was recording his first top-level success.
"Brian really likes this lad and has always had faith in him," Davis said.
"He really fancied him at Market Rasen on his hurdles debut but he jumped badly left that day. All he has done since is improve and Brian has done a great job with him.
Paul Nicholls: more miseryPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
"He travelled so well today and I just took my time as I knew he would gallop all the way to the line."
Dan Gilbert, Marsh Warbler's part-owner, added: "If it's soft ground he has a realistic chance in the Triumph Hurdle,although he would not want it on the quick side."
For Paul Nicholls, trainer of Sam Winner and fifth-placed Dolatulo, it was more misery in the race he has never won. The trainer has now sent out ten losers, five of which have started favourite.
Nicholls' assistant Dan Skelton said: "It was the best juvenile hurdle race of the season, but that soft, holding, sticky ground didn't suit him as he's a big chasing type in the making.
"You saw the way he quickened up on better ground at Cheltenham and that's the ground he wants."
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