Hill gets the better of Messire

Keeper Hill battled bravely to get back up and beat hot-favourite Messire Des Obeaux in the 188Bet Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Gavin Sheehan: Won aboard Keeper Hill

Warren Greatrex's six-year-old was impressive at Hereford last time when beating subsequent Wetherby winner Skipthecuddles and he made the most of the 8lb he received from Alan King's charge at Huntingdon.

Always prominent sat just off the pace set by Gary Moore's Benatar, Keeper Hill moved through to challenge that horse two out while Messire Des Obeaux was ridden along to join him in the battle for the lead.

It looked like Daryl Jacob had done enough to grind out a win aboard the 10/11 favourite, but Keeper Hill found more to edge him out under Gavin Sheehan, prevailing by a neck at the line

Greatrex said: "He's still very raw and he has lots of talent. "When he was jumping left down the back, he was basically jumping into space. Gavin kept him up there with Jamie (Moore, on Benatar) to make it a true test.

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"When his head was down he came alive and I thought if he jumped the last he was always going to get there.

"He's got so much talent, I don't think we've got to the bottom of him it.

"We'll have to have a look at Cheltenham. Gavin feels that in a better race and going at a faster pace will suit him, as he's got such a high cruising speed.

"Basically he did everything wrong but still won.

"Two out was bad enough and he never lifted a leg. The second horse has given us weight, but I think he's better than the winning distance."

Trainer Alan King said of the runner-up Messire Des Obeaux: "I'm delighted with him. This is not the be all and the end all today, but he needed another run.

"I thought 8lb would not be easy to give away and this is probably not his track round here."

Sky Bet, who are Non Runner No Bet, cut Keeper Hill to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and left Messire Des Obeaux unchanged at 8-1

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