Super Duty takes Novices' Hurdle

Super Duty showed courage in abundance to repel 4-7 favourite Keys in the Espirito Santo Investment Bank Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.

Super Duty showed courage in abundance to repel 4-7 favourite Keys in the Espirito Santo Investment Bank Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.

The only blip in the career of Donald McCain's six-year-old came when he took a heavy fall at Ayr last time but he restored his previously perfect form figures by leading all the way under Sam Thomas.

It did look a question of how far Keys would win by approaching the second-last flight, but he did not find as much as expected and Super Duty (7-1) ran on again to score by a length and three-quarters.

Part-owner Phil Hernon said: "There are special memories as he was one of the last horses Ginger McCain ever bought.

"That was a fantastic run. I don't know where he'll run next - I think Donald entered him at Cheltenham - but he's still a baby."

Invictus floored the big two of Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth to land the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase in impressive fashion.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti was sent off the 11-10 favourite on the back of his second in the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day, and for a long way disputed matters with Alfie Spinner.

Bobs Worth appeared to be feeling the pinch after jumping the third-last and all the while Robert Thornton had been stalking the principals full of running on the eventual 6-1 winner.

Alan King's charge took a narrow advantage two out and a fine leap at the last put the race to bed as he eased to a three-length success over the running-on Bobs Worth.

King said: "That was much better. He lost a shoe early on at Cheltenham (on New Year's Day) and maybe that affected him. That was more like it today and he liked the decent ground.

"He looked a real prospect when he won at Plumpton then Cheltenham was slightly disappointing but we had excuses for that, I'm sure it (the lost shoe) didn't help and he never seemed very happy.

"He goes on soft ground, but he appreciates better.

"Walkon is going to have to step up in trip and I don't think this fellow wants to be going back, so they both might end up in the RSA."

Nicky Henderson said of Bobs Worth, who was having his first run since a breathing operation: "That was a fantastic run, especially if you had seen what he looked like three weeks ago."

Chris Giles, part-owner of Silviniaco Conti, said: "I think he might well skip Cheltenham and go to Aintree instead."

David Pipe already has the favourite for the John Smith's Grand National in Junior but Massini's Maguire (9-1) could join him after coming out on top in a gripping Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Chase.

Many fell by the wayside over a gruelling three miles as Chance du Roy dictated the pace, but the fragile Massini's Maguire always had him in his sights.

Tullamore Dew, bidding to become a poignant winner for Nick Gifford after the recent death of his father Josh, emerged as Massini's Maguire's main danger but came up an agonising head short.

"Tom Scudamore schooled him in the week and said he felt like he was back to his best," Pipe said.

"If it wasn't for his problems he could have been a Gold Cup horse. Next for him is always how he is next morning, but he could go to Cheltenham. He's in the National, so we'll see."

Pipe added of Junior, who was eighth on his comeback run over hurdles at Newbury yesterday: "He's fine, he just got a bit tired in the closing stages, but he ran well. I haven't quite decided where he goes next."

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