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Brighterdaysahead impresses in the Mersey

Brighterdaysahead with Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy Brighterdaysahead with Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy
© Photo Healy Racing

Brighterdaysahead proved appropriately named when a bloodless winner of the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Held in the highest regard by trainer Gordon Elliott, she headed into the Cheltenham Festival as one of the bankers of the week in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old suffered a shock defeat at Prestbury Park when second to Golden Ace, but back up in trip and facing some quality opposition, the five-year-old confirmed she is a mare of the highest quality.

Settled in midfield by Jack Kennedy, Brighterdaysahead was always in the perfect position and having travelled menacingly into contention rounding the turn for home, she cruised effortlessly to the lead heading down to the last.

Kennedy could simply sit and savour the moment as the 6-5 favourite sauntered to a facile seven-and-a-half length success over stablemate Staffordshire Knott, who was giving Gigginstown a one-two in the Grade One event.

Elliott said: “The horses have been running well week, but we’ve been hitting the crossbar. I said a lot about this mare leading up to Cheltenham and I was gutted coming out of it, but we’re overjoyed today.

“She’s very good, I was nervous before the race because looking at her I thought she looked a bit light across her kidneys, but she showed how special she is.

“We can go wherever we want with her. I’m not going to say the best mare I’ve had because Apple’s Jade was pretty special, but she’s good.

“In this game there are always disappointments, but I look at life totally different now, I just love training winners and I love horses. But to win today is unbelievable.

“I don’t think the trip was the reason she got beat at Cheltenham, I thought she’d win. Willie’s horse (Jade De Grugy) has already come out and won at Fairyhouse. I just think on the day Jack and Paul (Townend) were watching each other and the other horse (Golden Ace) came and did them both.

“She’s gorgeous to look at.”

In third, running a huge race at 50-1, was the Charlie Longsdon-trained Bugise Seagull

“At 50-1 he wasn’t given a chance, but I knew he was five lengths better than his Sidney Banks run. I felt that would put him on a par with Handstands (the winner),” said Longsdon.

“He’s not streetwise enough to run in handicaps and he will be chucked in a field and have a good holiday.

“It’s been a bad season for us, the horses have been ill and then they came back on heavy ground and it’s just not easy to come back from being ill on heavy ground.

“This horse has kept the flag flying for the yard to be brutally honest. Hopefully this is the turn of things to come.”