Leighton Aspell second on final ride at Fontwell
There might have been no farewell victory for Leighton Aspell – after completing second with his final ride on Itsnotwhatyouthink however he received a winner send-off at Fontwell.
The dual Grand National-winning jockey announced 24 hours earlier that he’d call time on his career, to get the next occasion, at the Sussex trail – where he and Nick Gifford’s promising debutant would be the most honourable of runners-up in the Watt Fences Ltd Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race.
They stayed on from the elongated two-mile-one bumper. But finally Aspell – from riding between 2009 and 2007, who previously took a brief hiatus – could not really help the 15-8 favorite reel at Jetaway Joey, together with three lengths separating the pair at the point.
Reflecting on the end of his renowned career, Aspell said:”It was psychological – as it was the previous time that I was going to leave this weighing space and quit doing something I had done for many years, and something I have enjoyed.
“I have had great help from my friends and colleagues daily, and it’s been a superb day.
“I am delighted I am leaving racing very much in love with it.
“We will have time out, but I shall always follow rushing, and we’ll see what happens when another chapter starts.”
In terms of the horse that beat him into a second, finishing a double for coach Olly Murphy, it appears Jetaway Joey’s sterling effort is going to be paid back with a prolonged and hard-earned break.
Murphy said:”He is a nice horse, and I’d say he won’t be seen this season. It is excellent to get another wonderful horse for (owner) Barbara Hester, that has been a huge supporter of mine.
“The horse appeared green the very first day, and he’s come on a bundle since.”
Notre Pari had earlier bounced back by a final-flight fall in past month Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton to get the ball rolling with a success in Sustain Our Sport Adopt for Murphy An Ex-Racehorse Novices’ Hurdle.
Following the 4-6 favorite’s half-length success, Murphy said:”He was eligible to win that. He had a terrible fall from the Lanzarote.
“He was cautious over the first couple- but it was a nice, sympathetic ride from Barry Geraghty. He won nicely, and I guess we will look at something in the spring.”
Grand Sancy created a successful return to calmer waters also, with contested Grade One and Two races onto his first 3 starts on fences, since he initiated a treble for Paul Nicholls – with a front-running three-and-a-half-length success from the Racehorse Sanctuary Remembers Moorcroft Boy Beginners’ Chase.
Nicholls said of this 1-5 shooter:”That was a great little school about. I wished to get his thoughts and will attempt to pick up another race just like that, get a little more experience – then look at a more powerful race.
“A fast-run race would be fine. Aintree is a possibility, however, the Future Champions Novices’ Chase in Ayr could be an excellent race .”
David Maxwell faces a tough decision which horse he will ride in next month’s St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase, after evens favourite Bob And Co edged out stablemate Alcala by a length and a quarter to complete Nicholls’ treble in the Fairmile Snacks Open Hunters’ Chase.
Maxwell had to be pulled on his debut and eventually had an embarrassing experience aboard Bob And Co when he conducted free.
The amateur jockey stated:”He is currently a distinct horse to what he had been Warwick – both here and at Bangor last time – but he does have the capability to lock on.
“It is going to be a tough choice to make (in Cheltenham), since I believe Shantou Flyer is a better horse than any year”
It was a case of’as you’re’ at the Village House Hotel Findon Handicap Hurdle as Ostuni (10-1) defeated The Devil’s Return by three and a half lengths to repeat his success in the race out of 12 weeks ago.
Nicholls added:”He hurried so poorly at Plumpton (two weeks back ), and I advised (jockey) Lorcan (Williams) to see whether you can find any confidence into him.
“Whereas that he was never likely to succeed Plumpton, he was always going to win now.”