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Willoughby Court produces bold round of jumping to lower Yanworth's colours

Willoughby Court wings the third-last under Nico De Boinville
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Neptune Novices' Hurdle hero Willoughby Court produced a bold, aggressive round of jumping under Nico de Boinville to lower the colours of Yanworth and run out an emphatic winner of this Grade 2 novice chase.

The Ben Pauling-trained six-year-old appeared in control down the home straight and had plenty in the tank to repel Yanworth, who looked in trouble approaching the fourth-last but kept on gamely to throw down a brief but unavailing challenge after the last.

Five runners went to post but the contest was essentially billed as a match between Grade 1-winning hurdlers Yanworth and Willoughby Court, with Yanworth sent off as the 5-6 market leader.

However, he failed to jump as fluently as Willoughby Court, the 15-8 second favourite, who improved markedly on the form of last month's Huntingdon success to score by three lengths.

Pauling said: He jumped brilliantly. He was brave when he had to be but he was also clever.

"He'll always improve fitness-wise from his first run because he does things easily at home and his jumping was different gear. I know he went a bit long and low at one, but he barely put a foot wrong and it's great to see because I always thought he was a chaser and he's proving me right. I think he could be very good."

JLT aim

Willoughby Court was cut to a top price of 12-1 (from 16) with BoyleSports for the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, while he was slashed to as short as 7-1 in places, and Pauling confirmed that race would be the objective.

He said: "The JLT is very much the target. I'm sure he'll stay three miles in time, but this year will be two and a half. I imagine the Dipper at Cheltenham [on New Year's Day] will be the next target."

Yanworth's rider Barry Geraghty said: "Mistakes cost him. He ran a good race and I still thought I had a chance at the last, but he'd missed a couple. He'd jumped well enough on the whole, and he'll learn plenty again.

"There's no doubt he should stay chasing. It was a good run and he wasn't beaten by a mug."


 

 

Look back on a sizzling year of racing in the new edition of the Racing Post Annual, which has 208 colour pages packed with the best stories and pictures of 2017. Order now at racingpost.com/shop or call 01933 304858


 

The Ben Pauling-trained six-year-old looked in control down the home straight and had plenty in the tank to repel Yanworth
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