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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Cheltenham Festival: Yorkhill derails Yanworth in Neptune

Posted: 16th Mar 2016

Yorkhill and Ruby Walsh win the Neptune

Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Neptune on Yorkhill

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

Cheltenham Festival: Yorkhill beats Yanworth in thrilling Neptune

Report: Cheltenham, Wednesday

Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m5f26y, 5yo+

YORKHILL thwarted one of the bankers of the festival as he impressively dealt with Yanworth in a thrilling renewal of the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Ridden with confidence by Ruby Walsh, Yorkhill swept up the inside turning in and led on the bit approaching the last. Yanworth refused to lie down, but Yorkhill kept going to win by a length-and-three-quarters.

The pair finished seven lengths ahead of third-placed It'safreebee, but given the steady early pace that distance can be taken as an authoritative endorsement of their quality.

'He's a very very good horse'

Yorkhill had been redirected from the Supreme and Walsh was full of praise for his speed afterwards.

"I ended up doing the exact opposite of what I told Willie I'd do. He was rank at the start so I ended up further back than I wanted," Walsh said.

"Then I said I'd take a lead to the last but when the gap opened up for me I couldn't resist taking it.

"He's a very very good horse and David Casey was adamant two and a half miles and better ground was what he wanted and he was right. He's a fine specimen."

Talk immediately after the race centred on the World Hurdle and RSA, but quickly turned to races over shorter trips.

"I was wondering if he could come back and be a Champion Hurdle horse next year," said trainer Willie Mullins. "But Ruby got off him and said he'll win the Arkle next year with his mouth open. It will probably get a bit harder from here on in."
Sky Bet offered 10-1 about Yorkhill for the 2017 Champion Hurdle and 5-1 for the Arkle. 
King magnanimous in defeat
Alan King, trainer of Yanworth, took the defeat with good grace, and said: "I think we were just beaten by a better horse.
"Ours just missed the third-last which put him on the back foot, but I've no complaints. If anything, Barry thought they'd go a bit quicker and that that would have suited.
"He might have learned a bit from that, as it's the first time he's been off the bridle this year."
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