Copperless made up for a late fall at the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree by sealing a convincing eight and a half-length success in the Grade Three Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park.
The si-yea-old was sent-off the 9/2 favourite and was travelling strongly when parting company with conditional jockey Lewis Stones at the second last on Merseyside last month, but there was no heartbreak here for Olly Murphy’s charge here.
He was always going well under Aidan Coleman and drew clear after the final flight to beat Cormier by eight-and-a-half lengths.
The winning trainer said: “It was gutting what happened at Aintree, which was at no fault of the young lad Lewis Stones, but we’ve made amends today and he was really impressive. I was cursing the handicapper coming into this (after being raised 3lbs for his performance at Aintree) but how right he was! He’s a horse on an upward curve and we’ll enjoy today and winning a good pot.
"It was very impressive and he’s going to get clobbered for that but the Greatwood (staged at Cheltenham in November) the obvious option and he’ll contest nice races from now on.”
Copperless’ owners include Murphy’s father Aiden, and he added that he was thrilled to be able to scoop a nice prize for them.
He said: “My dad is probably one of the most unlucky owners of racehorses ever, so I’m chuffed for him and I’m chuffed for the Peterson family who have supported me since I started training.”
Coleman added: “I’m delighted with that. He was very unlucky at Aintree when the young lad (Lewis Stones) gave him an absolutely cracking ride, it was one of those things and the horse learned from that today.
“He was limited in experience over hurdles and I felt really sorry for the connections that day because the young lad gave him a peach but he got his bit of justice today.
“He’s always been a nice horse and we’ve always really liked him, he’s got a lovely attitude and great character. He’s travelled around there really well and he’s won nicely and I’m sure he’ll progress.”
Dell’ Arca (11/1) came out of the clouds to snatch victory in the Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle.
The David Pipe-trained 12-year-old needed the long run-in from the final flight to reel in Trincomalee and score by a length in the hands of Fergus Gillard.
“I knew he would stay the trip and it was a such a long way from the last to the line, I needed every yard of it and he’s not stopped galloping,” said the 5lb claimer.
“When I won on Main Fact here it was a lot deeper. This place has done me good. Dell’ Arca is a lovely horse. I’m delighted for Caroline Tisdall (owner) and everyone at home. He’s such a yard favourite.”