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2011 Cheltenham Festival

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2011 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle
2011 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle

Davy Russell riding First Lieutenant (left, maroon silks) winning The Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle from Rock On Ruby (right) at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images
March 16, 2011

On Wednesday, the first Grade 1 on the card was the £100,000 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle (G1) for 4 year olds and up, with a field of 12 going 2 5/8 miles over 10 jumps. 7-1 First Lieutenant stalked the early pace set by 33-1 Aikman. After the 2nd last hurdle, First Lieutenant and 12-1 Rock On Ruby hooked up for a duel to the line, but First Lieutenant dug in to win by a head in 5:10.50. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to late-running 2-1 fasvorite So Young third.

Winning jockey Davy Russell said, "Daryl (Jacob aboard Rock On Ruby) got a quicker leap at the last but I knew halfway up the straight I'd get him. I just didn't know it would be the last stride. He's a very good horse. The reason he didn't jump the last so well is that he is not a quick hurdling type, he's really a chaser." Owner Michael O'Leary added, "Mouse (Morris, trainer) has done a wonderful job with the horse and Davy gave him a fantastic ride."

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