Josses in giant-sized win

Josses Hill ridden by Barry Geraghty (right) wins the International Festival for Business 2014 Top Novice's Hurdle

Josses Hill ridden by Barry Geraghty (right) wins the International Festival for Business 2014 Top Novice's Hurdle

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It was first blood to punters as Josses Hill won the opening race on the second day of the Grand National meeting, the International Festival For Business 2014 Yop Novices Hurdle.

The horse had run a stormer to be second at the Cheltenham Festival and this was more than adequate compensation.

Josses Hill won for trainer Nicky Hendersion with Barry Geraghty in the saddle on ladies’ day at Aintree.

It had looked to be a close contest at the third-last flight, but crossing the last Josses Hill grabbed the initiatve and powered home up the short run-in to score by six lengths.

Sgt Reckless filled the runners-up berth, with the outsider King Of The Picts in third.

Josses Hill was sent off the 6-4 favourite.

Geraghty said: “He’s very genuine and he tries. He didn’t travel and jump as well as I’d like and he’s had a busy enough time, but he really responds.

“I knew I’d stay well and soon after AP (McCoy, on Sgt Reckless) joined me, I knew I had the measure of him.

“He met a very good horse at Cheltenham and I think he’s a horse with a massive future over fences.”

Henderson said: “It was a good performance. It’s been a good race for us with horses that have been second at Cheltenham - Darlan and My Tent Or Yours last year. I think he did it really well.

“It’s been a good race for us and for those that didn’t quite win at Cheltenham.

“I think this horse is a chaser. I can’t believe he won’t be going chasing next year. We’ll see. There’s a long summer to think about it.

“He’s a lovely looking horse. He looks like a chaser and he gallops as well as he looks. He looks like an Arkle horse to me.

“He was second to our own horse Royal Boy in a Grade One at Kempton, so he deserved to get a good prize at the end of the day and he’s been consistent all the year through.”

Josses Hill earned a 12-1 quote from bookmakers Paddy Power for next year’s Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham.