Willoughby makes all at Warwick
David Bass and Willoughby Court galloped their rivals into submission in the Neptune Investment Hurdle at Warwick.
David Bass and Willoughby Court take the final fence clear in the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle at Warwick.
Successful twice in the bumper sphere last season and an all-the-way winner on his second jumping start over this course and distance last month, Ben Pauling's charge was an 11/4 chance stepped up to Grade Two level.
Jockey David Bass appeared keen to ensure the two-mile-five-furlong contest was a searching test of stamina, allowing Willoughby Court to bowl along at the head of affairs from flag-fall.
The six-year-old jumped well in the main and Bass upped the ante by asking Willoughby Court for a big leap five flights from the finish, which he produced.
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He had all of his rivals in trouble from the home turn and safely negotiated the remaining two obstacles to seal an impressive eight-length success.
Peter Fahey's Irish raider Peregrine Run, bidding for a fifth successive win, was second at the top of the home straight, but was eventually beaten to the runner-up spot by Gayebury.
Bass said: "He was really impressive. I can't believe how much he's improved from the run here before.
"He got into a really good rhythm and on this ground he's relentless. He just gallops and jumps.
"He's an improving horse, so I wouldn't be surprised if he could handle better conditions as well. Fair play to Ben, he really fancied him."Jason Maguire, racing manager to owners Paul and Clare Rooney, said: "Ben was very keen to come. Off a mark of 127 you'd think he'd be up against it on official ratings, but he obviously loves this track – he's won a bumper and two hurdle races now – and it was a good performance."Whether he's ground dependent, I'd like to think he's not. He handles this ground better than some. Where he goes I don't know. Obviously there's the Festival."Ben's been great with him, he's been so patient."Trainer Evan Williams, responsible for Gayebury, said: "I'm over the moon. I thought he'd run well. He didn't have the penalties and that's a good thing."The winner was very good and our horse looked like he wants further."There are plenty of staying novice hurdles for him. He could be an Albert Bartlett horse."
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