Tag Archive for: Top Notch

Tributes paid following death of Top Notch

Part-owner Simon Munir and trainer Nicky Henderson have paid tribute to Top Notch after the popular chaser’s death on Sunday.

The 10-year-old won 16 of his 33 career starts in a career spanning eight years, with his sole Grade One success coming in the 2017 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Top Notch also landed two editions of the Grade Two Peterborough Chase and the Oaksey Chase on the final day of the season at Sandown three years ago.

The Poliglote gelding made five appearances at the Cheltenham Festival, managing runner-up finishes in the 2015 Triumph Hurdle and the 2017 JLT Novices’ Chase. He finished third in the Paddy Power Plate on his most recent visit to Prestbury Park in March.

Top Notch ran once more – pulling up at last month’s Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Munir, who owned Top Notch with Isaac Souede, posted on Twitter: “It is with great sadness that we lost our double green stalwart and hero Top Notch today. He ruptured his stomach and surgery failed.

“He was the sweetest kindest horse with the biggest heart – since 2014 he won 14 races and participated in five Cheltenham Festivals.

“So many memories – RIP Notchy.”

Henderson added: “Top Notch will be sorely missed by us all at Seven Barrows. He was a great friend and gave us all so many wonderful days out over the last few years “

Top Notch faces seven in Peterborough defence

Last year’s winner Top Notch is among a field of eight for the rescheduled Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

Nicky Henderson’s popular performer took the Grade Two prize when it was held at its usual home, Huntingdon, last December. The meeting was lost to waterlogging last weekend but has been switched to Prestbury Park.

Henderson also saddles Mister Fisher, who was pulled up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.

Tom George is two-handed with Champion Chase third Bun Doran and recent Newbury scorer Clondaw Castle while Dolos, Fanion D’Estruval, Glen Forsa and Kalashnikov complete the line-up.

There were three withdrawals – Al Dancer, Master Tommytucker and Militarian – at the 48-hour final declaration stage. All hold entries in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup on Saturday’s card at the Prestbury Park track.

Paul Nicholls’ Grade One winner Black Corton heads seven runners in the Unibet Handicap Chase.

His rivals include Tom Mullins’ Irish raider Court Maid, winner of three of her last four races, and the Kerry Lee-trained Storm Control, who was successful in a staying a handicap chase at Cheltenham four weeks ago.

Another old favourite asked to give weight all-round is Unowhatimeanharry, who goes for the Citipost Handicap Hurdle.

Harry Fry’s 2016 Albert Bartlett scorer showed he was no back number at the age of 12 when winning at Aintree on his seasonal debut last month.

Mohaayed, who took the County Hurdle in 2018 for Dan Skelton, and the Henderson-trained On The Blind Side also feature among the 14 runners.

The 11-year-old Kingswell Theatre bids to repeat last month’s course-and-distance victory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase.

Beau Du Brizais, who was runner-up to Michael Scudamore’s veteran that day, reopposes.

Others in the 11-strong field include the Mark Bradstock-trained Step Back, winner of both his starts so far this season and the Irish-trained quartet of Neverushacon, Some Neck, Out Sam and My Hometown.

Henderson lining up dual assault on Peterborough prize

Nicky Henderson is likely to be double-handed with Top Notch and Mister Fisher in Sunday’s Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon – as long as the ground does not turn soft.

Henderson, who is just one behind Henrietta Knight’s record of eight wins in the Grade Two event, holds a soft spot for Top Notch, who is responsible for two of his victories in the race.

However, in Mister Fisher, who is three years younger at six, he could face a very stern opponent from inside his own stable.

“Top Notch is a real friend, he’s been with us for years and everybody loves him,” said Henderson, in a call hosted by Great British Racing.

“We have had to stop and tinker with his palate which does take three to four weeks out of your prep, which does just worry me as I would like to have been out a bit earlier than this.

“It did hold us up. He’s done plenty, his weight is good and it’s an ideal race for him – two and a half miles around Huntingdon is great.

“Mister Fisher is pretty likely to join him if the ground is anywhere near good.

“Unfortunately he got stuck in the mud in the Paddy Power at Cheltenham the other day.

“I could wait for the Caspian Caviar (at Cheltenham) next week, but if Huntingdon was genuinely good – I dare not wait another week as he has to have good ground – he would join him, which might make things more complicated for Top Notch.”

Hamilton hoping Nuts Well can shine in Peterborough prize

Nuts Well is among 14 entries for Sunday’s Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Trained in Northumberland by Ann Hamilton and owned by her husband Ian, the nine-year-old has won five of his last six races.

He beat Ladbrokes Trophy runner-up Aye Right on his seasonal reappearance and followed up in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, which has produced its fair share of subsequent winners.

“The Old Roan hasn’t worked out so bad, has it?” said Ian Hamilton.

“He’s been all right since, but he has a hell of a weight to carry this weekend.

“Hopefully they won’t all show up, he’s in good fettle so we’ll just have to hope for the best.

“Two or three that were behind us at Aintree have come out and won, and that is always nice to see.

“He’d have a little chance I would think. I suppose one worry is that he carried 11st 7lb at Aintree, he’ll have something similar on Sunday but Danny (McMenamin) won’t be able to claim 3lb as this is a Graded race and with the Covid changes, they are already carrying an extra 3lb.

“I think this might be a bit better race than Aintree, but we’ll see how we get on.

“After Harriet’s (Graham) horse (Aye Right) ran so well in the Ladbrokes Trophy, it would be great if we could go south and do something similar – Harriet is just a young lass compared to us though! It was magic watching, giving the winner all the weight too. She trains not far from us, so we were delighted.”

Top Notch won the race at Taunton three years ago
Top Notch won the race at Taunton three years ago (Julian Herbert/PA)

Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch is chasing a third victory in the race, having won a rearranged version at Taunton in 2017 and reclaimed the Grade Two prize back at its rightful home 12 months ago.

Top Notch has not been seen since finishing third to Frodon in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton in January. Henderson could also run Mister Fisher.

Paul Nicholls has entered Dolos, while Nigel Twiston-Davies has given Al Dancer the option.

Bun Doran, Mercian Prince, Simply The Betts and Fanion D’Estruval are all in the mix too.