Racing: Native Upmanship helps keep Irish on top

The Grand National momentum is squarely with the Irish.

The Grand National momentum is squarely with the Irish. Following Florida Pearl's distinguished victory in the Martell Cup on the opening day of the meeting, there was further success for the visitors yesterday when Native Upmanship won the Melling Chase and then Ireland supplied three of the first four home in the only race over the huge National spruces, the Topham Trophy.

Native Upmanship was back in third at the final fence of his Grade One contest as Wahiba Sands and Fadalko wrestled for superiority, but, on the flat, he surged to the front. "The race went super," Conor O'Dwyer, his jockey, reported. "He was still a little slow over the fences but the horse has the heart of a lion. Native Upmanship never, never misses a battle and he is as tough as old boots."

The nine-year-old may be surprised when he sees the photographs. Arthur Moore, in keeping with a tradition initiated by his father, Dan, after L'Escargot won the 1975 National, the winning trainer, put his trilby on Native Upmanship's head in the winners' enclosure. "We save the hat for very special occasions and this was a very special occasion," he said. "I'd love to go for the King George at Kempton."

While the spruce was flying and horses capsizing in the Topham, Its Time For A Win continued a purposeful route to carry Ruby Walsh home by six lengths. Monty's Pass was second and Shannon Gale fourth for the Irish. "Having seen the way he jumped round there I must aim to get him qualified for next year's Grand National," Willie Mullins, the winning trainer, said. "He nearly died on me as a young horse. I had him lined up for the Cheltenham bumper, but then he got a virus and, at one time, we nearly lost him.

"I rode the winner of the Fox Hunters' here 19 years ago and I feel it is always a great achievement just to get round over these fences, let alone win a race here."

Jonjo O'Neill collected a further trinket for his Jackdaws Castle stable when Carbury Cross gave him a third success of the meeting in the opening contest. Further glory for the eight-year-old beckons in either the Scottish National or the former Whitbread, the attheraces Gold Cup, at Sandown.

The Top Novices' Hurdle went, for the third consecutive year, to the Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs, when In Contrast followed the triumphs of Ilico II and Phardante Flyer. In doing so he reversed Cheltenham Festival form with Martin Pipe's Westender, who had finished one place ahead when second to Like-A-Butterfly in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Pipe was also denied in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle, when his Tarxien and Stormez filled the places behind Alan King's Stromness. "I made a mistake last year as I didn't have Stromness gelded when he was a bit colty," King said. "He was gelded after Aintree and he has never looked back since." Just as well. He probably wouldn't like what he couldn't see.

Tony Dobbin reached his century for the season when the Cheltenham disappointment Barton made a nonsense of his run in the Arkle by storming away with the Mildmay Novices' Chase. "The Cheltenham Gold Cup next season is the long-term target," Tim Easterby, his trainer, reported.

It was a success enjoyed by none more than the gelding's jockey, Tony Dobbin: "He is just a brilliant horse. Beyond doubt the best that I've ridden."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent