Snow Leopardess leaps to Listed glory at Exeter | Race News

Snow Leopardess will head straight to the Randox Grand National after earning her third win of the season in determined fashion at Exeter.

Martaline’s gray daughter came back better than ever this term – beating Sky Bet Chase winner Windsor Avenue on her reappearance in Bangor before winning the Grand National fences in a thrilling Becher Chase in December.

Returning to regulatory hurdles for the Virgin Bet Mares’ Chase, Snow Leopardess was the equal favorite in the hands of Jonathan Burke and got the job done in style.

The 10-year-old looked like she could have a real race on her hands around the home bend, with the rhythmic Chilli Filli and Momella both vying for Listed honours.

But the further Snow Leopardess went, the more she looked – galloping hard in the test conditions and producing a generally assured leap at the final fence to seal her comfortable success.

Coral left the winner unchanged at 20-1 for the Grand National and Longsdon confirmed all roads led to Aintree in April.

He said: “Relief is my main emotion. It’s great to get rid of it and hopefully we can prepare for the Grand National now.

“She had a tougher run than I wanted to give her today, so I think we’ll go straight to Aintree.

“It’s fantastic to see her win again. She only started on the straight.

“Before today she was rated 145 and I spoke to the handicapper a few times. National’s underweight was 145 last year and the handicapper said ‘you’re probably going to come in, but there’s a chance that you don’t “.”

With the winner of Callow Stage Star being a significant non-runner, a field of five set out for the other Listed race on the map – the Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle.

In the absence of Stage Star, Fergal O’Brien’s Peking Rose was the prohibitively expensive favorite at 1-2, but he had to settle for second place behind Lac De Constance, trained by Dan Skelton.

A winner over course and distance on his hurdles debut in December, the 11-8 shot was followed by a verdict nearly three lengths under coach’s brother Harry.

The winner is signed up for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but looks unlikely to accept the engagement.

“We always wanted to come back here because he’s a big, beefy horse. We wanted a big track on slow ground and that’s what we got today,” said the winning rider.

“I don’t think I would have let go if the second horse hadn’t made the mistake of three outings as I galloped away.

“He’s a good horse. We’ll have to take care of him. Today was perfect on soft ground on a slow track. Hopefully he can be good enough.”




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