Le Patron gives Noonan first Grade One victory

Le Patron provided jockey David Noonan with a first Grade One success in the Betfair Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Sent off the 16-1 outsider of the six-runner field, Gary Moore’s had won two minor handicaps prior to stepping into Grade One company.

He jumped like an old hand, especially when it mattered most in the straight, while the favourite JPR One blundered two out and saw his chance disappear.

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Jockey David Noonan celebrates his first Grade One on Le Patron
Jockey David Noonan celebrates his first Grade One on Le Patron (John Walton/PA)

Colonel Harry stayed on strongly in the straight having been outpaced and briefly looked as if he could make a race of it, however, he could only close to within a length and a quarter.

Noonan said: “It will take a while to sink in and I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to ride a horse of that quality and to go and do it is amazing.

“They were quietly confident beforehand and thought he would run a big race, but whether they thought he would do that or not I don’t know. I’m glad it all worked out.

“Day in, day out you are trucking around to come to these big days and it is brilliant. To have a horse who is competitive and can do the job is even better. Hopefully it is a bit of good advertising.”

It is the second time Moore has saddled the winner of this event after the success of Ar Mad in 2015 and the handler was delighted to secure another big race victory at his favourite racecourse.

He said: “It was an ambitious shout, but when a horse jumps as he does and goes in soft ground as he does, we had to give it a try – especially the way the races are cutting up at the present time.

“It didn’t really cut up today, but full credit to Jamie (Moore) who has done all the donkey work on him and David has given him a lovely ride today.

“Liz (Avery, owner) is an elderly lady and she bought this horse over a year ago and we told her he’s a chaser, he’s not a two-mile hurdler. That’s why he ended up with the mark he had and thank god he has proven us right. Not often does that happen, but it has today.”

He went on: “Obviously it was a concern (coming back in trip) but when he jumps like he does and when the ground is as testing as it was on this track, it probably wasn’t as much of a problem.

“He wouldn’t have the pace that Ar Mad had, but he will come back now for the two-and-a-half-mile race here, the Scilly Isles.

“I love Sandown, it’s the best racecourse in the country – especially when you get a horse that jumps like he does, it’s a great spectacle.

On Noonan, he added: “The boys ride will the majority, but I think David is a lovely rider and very underused and very underrated. All the time I need to use him, I will use him.

“He’s been in and schooled him in the week and that’s the kind of person he is, I’m not sure where he lives but he doesn’t live round the corner. He’s had to come up and school this horse especially.”

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