Menorah: puts in another fine leap on his way to Grade 1 successPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Menorah bounces back to his best in Manifesto
Report: Aintree, Thursday
Betfred Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f, 5yo+
MENORAH finally came good over fences as he cleared away to win his first Grade 1 since landing the Supreme Novices' Hurdle two years ago under a confident Richard Johnson.
The seven-year-old was well beaten by Sprinter Sacre in the Racing Post Arkle Chase at Cheltenham last month but he showed his true colours as he put in a good round of jumping on his way to recording an impressive victory.
Al Ferof, sent off 11-10 favourite, disputed the lead throughout but he was quickly passed by Cristal Bonus and Menorah on the run for home. He could manage only third.
Trainer Philip Hobbs was delighted with the performance. "He jumped better today except for those two down the back straight, otherwise he was very good," said Hobbs, who won this race last year with Wishfull Thinking.
Al Ferof, ridden by Ruby Walsh, had to be niggled as stablemate Cristal Bonus duelled for the lead as the field went down the back straight.
Philip Hobbs: will consider optionsPICTURE: Martin Lynch
Pepite Rose, seeking a five-timer, travelled well in behind alongside Menorah, who made a serious blunder at the fifth-last.
The mistake threw Johnson high into the air but the rider maintained the partnership and they quickly moved into a dangerous position as Walsh tried to take the finishing kick out of his rivals aboard Al Ferof.
However, his mount could not quicken and Menorah swept into the lead before he threw in a mighty leap over the last. He bounded clear up the run-in to score by seven lengths ahead of Cristal Bonus.
Hobbs added: "He could go to Punchestown but there is only the two-mile race there and Richard thought the two and a half helped him a lot.
"The only other option is the two-and-a-half-mile race at Ayr next Saturday. He is in very good nick and is quite tough.
"I would be keen to run him again and those are the only options. We will consider carefully what we are going to do."