The 10 year old Sire Du Berlais (16-1) registered the first Grade One success of his career when defeating 11-8 Favourite Flooring Porter by a length and three quarters in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle.
Sire Du Berlais is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, having taken the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle in 2019 and 2020.
The victory of Sire Du Berlais meant that owner JP McManus had an unassailable lead in the ROA Leading Owner Award and he was presented with his trophy after the race.
Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “It didn’t work out for him in the Pertemps but it was great he’s won here and I’m absolutely delighted – he got into a lovely rhythm and he jumped great.
“We’ll see how he is in terms of what’s next. It was a bit of a surprise but that’s the game we’re in, we’ll take whatever we’ll get.”
On wearing a tie for Grand National day he said: “I said I’d try and do something different to try and change my luck as things were going that bad for the last two weeks. I think you might be seeing me in one more often now!”
Winning jockey Mark Walsh added: “He’s so tough. Fair play to Gordon, he had him in some form, because things didn’t go right in the Pertemps (this year) and it was a brave call to run him in this, after running disappointingly in the Pertemps.
“But he had him in some form and he winged round there and jumped. He’s some tough little horse.”
On the horse, a dual Pertemps winner (2019 and 2020), coming here and winning a Grade One in a battle with the Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle winner, he added: “It just shows you how good a trainer Gordon Elliott is. He had him in tip top shape today, so all the praise has to go to Gordon.”
Gavin Cromwell, trainer of runner-up Flooring Porter, said: “He was a little bit gassy – a little bit fresh going to the start, and a little bit gassy during the race, but look, he ran a great race.
“It’s disappointing to be beat, but that’s racing. He was beaten a length and a half – the best horse won, but he’s still a very good horse and he’ll probably aim for Cheltenham again next year.”
Nicky Henderson, trainer of third placed Champ, said: “He stayed on well but he never quite got into it. He has done nothing wrong.
“He has held his form well enough. He has run two very good races at here and Cheltenham but he has run well all season to be fair but he probably hasn’t lived up to the promise of that first run at Ascot.
“I thought today would have been his day as I felt he would like this track as he has won on his only other start here. He probably prefers a flat track to a bumpy track but he has run well.
“He has got all sorts of options next season and he could always go back to fences. He does run very well fresh and I’ve always tried to keep him that way and I thought he was today too. There is another good one in him as he is a good horse.”
Ollie Murphy, trainer of fourth placed Thomas Derby, said: “He ran well and he would have been third but he made a desperate mistake at the second last.
“I thought he was going to run a big race turning in and class told from the back of the last to the line but he has run well. It will be the same plan from this season to next season. He is not getting any younger but I’d like to still think he is capable of landing another good pot.”
The Jockey Club Press Release