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Top Wood outbattles Burning Ambition in thrilling Aintree Foxhunters

Third to Hazel Hill on his seasonal re-appearance in the Cheltenham Foxhunters three weeks earlier, Top Wood ran out a gallant winner of the 2019 Randox Health Foxhunters for Tabitha Worsley and Kelly Morgan.

One of the leading Irish hopes Burning Ambition, had benefitted from a typically excellent Derek O’Connor waiting ride to be delivered to challenge the 12-year-old approaching the elbow, and Pierce Power’s recent Down Royal winner even briefly went to the front with a one-length advantage.

However the son of Scorpion was out-battled up the extended run-in, as Worsley galvanised her mount along the inside running rail to regain the advantage and record a two-length success at a price of 14/1.

Burning Ambition returned in front of fellow Irish-trained runners Road To Riches, who was a further 11 lengths back in third for David Maxwell and David Christie, whilst Coastal Tiep stayed on well to claim fourth for the Crawford brothers, Ben and Stuart.

Five of the Irish-trained runners were among the 12 horses that completed the 2m 5f course, with Kruzhlinin and Barry O’Neill completing in eighth, whilst last year’s winner, Balnaslow, had to settle for ninth under Mark O’Hare.

Only one Irish-trained runner failed to complete, that being the well-supported Ucello Conti, who was sent off as the second favourite behind Road To Rome.

However his backers knew their fate from a very early stages, as Jamie Codd called it a day at an early point aboard Gordon Elliott’s 11-year-old, and he was pulled up on the run to Becher’s Brook.

It was big moment for the winning rider Tabitha Worsley (pictured as part of the launch of the 2017 Anglo-Irish Challenge), who was recording the biggest success of her career. She is not a complete stranger to point-to-point racegoers on this side of the Irish Sea, as the Birmingham University graduate has featured as part of the British team at the Anglo-Irish Challenge in Kingston Blount.

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