Bouggler wins Mersey Novices' Hurdle

Bouggler came out on top in a thrilling finish to the John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree under Noel Fehily.

Bouggler came out on top in a thrilling finish to the John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree under Noel Fehily.

The 16-1 chance travelled strongly throughout in the opener on Grand National day, and came to join Copper Bleu and Ainama jumping the final flight.

Bouggler and Copper Bleu engaged in a thrilling duel inside the final 100 years but it was Emma Lavelle’s charge who came out on top by a head.

Fehily said: "It was like slow motion up the run-in, I didn't think we were going to get there.

“It was very, very close. Richard’s (Johnson, on Copper Bleu) horse and my horse tried very hard and neither of them deserved to lose.

“He’s unbelievably tough to say it was only his second run over hurdles, he jumped pretty slow early on to be honest but he’s all heart.”

Lavelle added: "He's always had tons of ability.

“He’s as tough as old boots. It was very difficult to assess him after Kempton because the others didn’t run to form and he was very impressive, so it was difficult to know how he’d get on today.

“He came here a fresh horse but I was a little worried about his inexperience.

“The reason we came here was for the better ground. He wanted a bit of a trip and I wanted to run him again before the end of the season otherwise he would have been basically a novice next season.”

Philip Hobbs, trainer of the runner-up, said: ``It's very frustrating to get beat, he didn't jump the last two so well and that probably made the difference as the winning margin was so small.

“He’ll definitely go chasing next season but may yet run again this year.

“Punchestown would be a possibility but we’ll see how he comes out of this.”

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