2006 WBX.COM Fighting Fifth Hurdle Day
WBX.COM’s inaugural sponsorship of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle attracted a top class field of nine and it was Straw Bear that landed the prestigious race in emphatic style beating Noble Request by a comfortable five lengths.
The two mile event, the opening leg of the WBX.COM Triple Crown, was the feature of the card but the WBX.COM Rehearsal Chase played a notable supporting role while a potential star of the future was unearthed in the World Bet Exchange Now Live At wbx.com Novices' Chase.
Neptune Collonges, winner of the WBX.COM Rehearsal Chase, ended the season as the winner of a Grade 1 event at the Punchestown Festival, the Guinness Gold Cup, and, prior to that, had run an honourable race to finish eighth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But it wasn’t just the Paul Nicholls horse that was the one to take out of the race as the runner-up, Another Promise, also went on to perform with great credit throughout the season.
Ferdy Murphy, who enjoyed such a terrific campaign, produced Another Promise to win the Northumberland Chase and then the horse improved on that effort to finish a highly respectable fifth in a very competitive looking Arkle Chase won by My Way De Solzen. Not content with that, Murphy then sent his charge to Punchestown to contest the Grade 1 Swordlestown Chase and the eight year old duly delivered taking some notable scalps in the process. He will be aimed at the Gold Cup this season and with further improvement anticipated, could have an impact in some of the major staying contests.
The World Bet Exchange Now Live At wbx.com Novices' Chase also highlighted Murphy’s considerable ammunition in the staying chase department as Aces Four routed his rivals and it proved to be a stepping stone for a wonderful season for the eight year old culminating in Grade 2 success at Aintree. He bustled up Denman for a long way at Cheltenham, until clouting the third last, before slamming Faasel in authoritative fashion at the Liverpool track and looked to have one of the big novice chases at Punchestown at his mercy before succumbing at the final fence.
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