Sunday April 9
We peppered the wire throughout the Cheltenham Festival last month, and, following four thirds at Aintree it seemed that we might never hit that bullseye again, but happily Yanworth restored normal service when toughing it out for a brave victory in the Grade 1 Liverpool Stayers Hurdle yesterday.
Yanworth had to really battle to beat off Coral Cup hero Supasundae and fellow Irish challenger Snow Falcon in an epic scrap from the last, so, while the Barbury’s stable-star is entered at Punchestown, Alan, now only one short of another century of winners, would like to rough him off until next season and bring him back over fences in the autumn.
Reflecting on “a great day”, Alan said:”Yanworth has done us proud over hurdles these last two seasons, but he could be even better when he tackles fences.
“I see him starting off over two and a half (miles) with a view to maybe stepping up to three, and he could be an exciting prospect for novice chases.”
The disappointment of the Champion Hurdle was erased from the memory as Yanworth, trying three miles for the first time, produced a performance which demonstrated that the horse’s talents are matched only by his bottomless courage.
We had seen both in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Kingwell at Wincanton that when the going gets tough then Yanworth digs deep into fresh reserves, and Alan was justifiably proud of his stable-star.
He added:”I wasn’t confident as it’s been a tough couple of festivals, and it was a brave call going straight from two miles to three so it was such a relief that it worked out.”
Praising Yanworth’s spirit, Barry Geraghty said:”I have never lost faith in this horse and knew that he was a lot better than he looked in the Champion.
“Maybe the trip did find him out at Cheltenham but it was still a below-par run and he got very warm beforehand that day so he probably under-performed.
“He showed at Aintree that he is really a middle-distance stayer. He travelled and jumped, and his only blemish was at the third last where I was anxious not to land in front. But he was super at the last and kept on pulling out for me up that long run-in. It’s a terrific race and I was so pleased to win it for Alan and the boss (JP McManus).”