Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede enjoyed yet another big race victory this year. In their familiar two shades of green silks, Top Notch ran out an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park.
A six-time winner over hurdles, the son of Poliglote was held up in the early stages under Daryl Jacob. The front pairing of Baron Alco and Amore Alato set the pace in testing conditions.
Top Notch traveled kindly and after negotiating the railway fences was in the slipstream of the leader with the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux following him through.
Th six-year-old jumped to the lead after the last and came clear to take the two-mile-and-a-half prize by five lengths.
“It was cracking performance it was a real test for him today taking them fences on,” reflected Jacob.
“He’s not the biggest in the world but I tell you one thing what he lacks in size he makes up in heart. This is one of the first good horses that I rode for the bosses, Simon and Isaac, and he’s just kept coming through.”
For Jacob, this caps off a profitable couple of weeks with Bristol De Mai’s Peter Marsh win coming two weeks ago and Wholestone scoring at Cheltenham last weekend.
It also comes as a first Grade 1 success for Top Notch, who only 11 months ago was finishing fifth in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Henderson said: “This is a real, real favourite. He’s nearer a pet than a racehorse, he came as a juvenile hurdler and I thought that’s all he would ever be.
“He won the Morebattle last year and was fifth in the Champion, nowhere to go so we said come on let’s try and jump a fence with him. You just have to love him because he just tries.”
He’s nearer a pet than a racehorse
Earlier in the afternoon, the Henderson-trained Buveur D’Air advertised his Champion Hurdle credentials by winning on the bridle in the Listed Contenders Hurdle.
Returning to hurdles after a spell chasing, the six-year-old gelding traveled kindly in the hands of Barry Geraghty and cruised by long-time leader Rayvin Black after the last to score by an easy length-and-a-half.