Three Stripe Life gained a Grade One victory at his third attempt in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2m 4f).
The six year old had previously chased home Sir Gerhard in Grade One company at Leopardstown and Cheltenham.
In today’s contest, Three Stripe was returned the 5-2 Favourite and came home the comfortable four and three-uarter length winner from Might I.
Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “He was bought to be a chaser and if you look at him that’s exactly what he is. He’s bumped into Sir Gerhard a couple of times who’s a very good horse and he’s done nothing wrong all year, so it’s nice to get his day in the sun. Kenny and Laura (Haughey, owners) are here and they’re good supporters of the yard so I’m delighted for them.
“He’ll go chasing next year. He’s a good horse. He’s entered at Punchestown but he’s been busy enough I’d say so we might just finish off with that.”
Successful jockey Davy Russell said: "Harry (Cobden, Stage Star) was getting it easy in front and I wanted to get a little bit closer. I was in the box seat but ended up having to be there quite early on him, but he’s a mature horse and had been prepared to run in a point-to-point so I was happy once he got there and filled himself up. Then he went again and it was lovely.
“He only setted okay, because I was caught a bit wide and he was doing a little too much. But then when I moved forward he just dropped it at the right time for me and he gave me a chance. He jumped great, and as I said, when he got to the front he just had a look and filled himself up and went again. He’s very brave.
“We were dicing with two miles and we knew it wasn’t ideal for him, but he’s classy and we thought he’d learned a lot over two miles and then when we stepped him up he’d find a bit of improvement, so that’s what we did.
“I’d imagine over time he’d get the next four furlongs. He’s not an Arkle horse but he could start (over fences) over shorter trips than what he’ll end up over.”
Harry Fry, trainer of the second Might I said: “I’ve not done a great job this year as I’ve only one won novice this year with him but he has finished behind Constitution Hill, Jonbon and now this horse in a Grade One.
“We went to Sandown on his second start this season and we went off favourite trying to give Constitution Hill six pounds and we couldn’t believe we got beat but in hindsight we can now believe why he got beat. I thought we weren’t going to beat that in the Tolworth so I thought we would do what the Irish do and see if he is good enough as a Graded novice or if not, we will get handicapped and something like the Martin Pipe will be perfect. We finished third at Haydock behind Jonbon and we thought off 135 off we go to the Martin Pipe then he got sick and we couldn’t get him there.
“We had the right idea of a Grade One horse in a handicap but we didn’t get him there. He ran a brilliant race there stepped up in trip. Now he is settling better I think he will get further. He is a half brother to Stattler who won the National Hunt Chase. I’d love to keep him over hurdles next season he might be something for that three-mile handicap at Haydock Park and then after that to see if he can make into a Graded race hurdler up in trip. It is just frustrating that we have got a very good novice but we have only won one race with him and finished behind some good novices in the meantime. Maybe we will get our time in the sun next season.”
Alan King, who saddled third-placed North Lodge, said: “He’s only learning - we’ve only scratched the surface, but we’re really pleased. He finished the race off well.
“We’ll probably stay down the handicap route with him next year, just for a bit more experience. He’s only had four races in his life, and he’s an exciting young horse.”