Lifeboat sails to Sandown success

Lifeboat Mona was produced with a late run to claim the Mares' Hurdle at Sandown.

Lifeboat Mona (right) on her way to winning at Sandown

Paul Nicholls' seven-year-old was ridden confidently by Sam Twiston-Davies and his faith was well founded.

Desert Queen tried to make all but looked a sitting duck as Briery Queen, Midnight Jazz and the eventual winner cruised up behind.

Midnight Jazz led approaching the last, but Twiston-Davies had yet to ask for everything and when he did there was a positive response from Lifeboat Mona.

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The 11-4 joint-favourite pulled three lengths clear up the hill to win the Listed prize in fine style.

Harry Derham, Nicholls' assistant trainer, said: "It was a good performance and she got a lovely ride. We were a little bit worried about the ground going that soft.

"She was the last to be played and she has got a good turn of foot, as we saw at Ascot. It was an ideal race for her as she had no penalties today. We are all thrilled.

"We will take it one race at a time. She is a high-class mare and so it was no surprise to see what she done today. On her ratings she was entitled to go close.

"She is not fragile, she has just had niggling problems, but we have had a good run with her this year and it has been reflected in the results."

Dan Downie, of winning owners Axom, added: "I think we will have to look at Cheltenham.

"She quite likes a break between races and it would be risky to run her before if that was the ultimate target, so she would probably head straight there."

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