Galway festival

Tizzard's Reserve Tank makes it four in a row in Champion Novice Hurdle

Reserve Tank gets away the better from the last before holding off Sams Profile (right) up the run-in
Reserve Tank gets away the better from the last before holding off Sams Profile (right) up the run-inCredit: Alan Crowhurst

Reserve Tank proved he was a horse on the up by landing the Grade 1 Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle, a race won in recent years by Reve De Sivola (2010), Vautour (2014) and Nichols Canyon (2015).

Partnered by Robbie Power, who was riding his fourth winner of the week, the 13-2 shot was always in a prominent position and hit the front once the front-running Royal Rendezvous blew out with two hurdles to go.

Reserve Tank looked vulnerable approaching the last as the well-backed Sams Profile loomed alongside, but a good jump sealed the victory and he scored by half a length, making it four in a row for the improving gelding who was following up Grade 1 success at Aintree last month.

Reserve Tank was given quotes between 16-1 and 20-1 for the Stayers' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival but Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father Colin, indicated that a switch to fences is more likely.

"This horse has got chaser written all over him and I'd be amazed if he remains hurdling next season, but you never know," said Tizzard.

"He had problems with ulcers early in the season and we had to give him three months off. When he came back and won at Sandown he looked slow but he has kept on improving and has found more pace.

"He surprised us a bit in the Mersey at Aintree and this race today was probably a better contest."

Power agreed, saying: "When I won a novice hurdle around Sandown on him I didn't think he'd end up winning two Grade 1s – all credit goes to the Tizzard team.

"He's come a long way in a short period of time and will make a lovely novice chaser. He was a bit keen in the first mile but had more pace on this better ground and had enough in reserve late on."

Ladbrokes go 14-1 about the winner for the 2020 JLT Novices' Chase.

The disappointment of the race was City Island, winner of the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival. He was sent off a warm favourite but never travelled and was beaten a fair way from home.

He finished sixth and rider Derek O'Connor, standing in after Mark Walsh suffered a suspected broken lower leg in a fall early on the card, said his mount "ran flat".

Reserve Tank was the first British-trained winner of the race since Spirit Of Adjisa scored for Tim Vaughan in 2011.

Result, replay and analysis

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Racing Post Reporter

Published on inGalway festival

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