• Horse Racing

First Avenue flies home for Imperial Cup win

ESPN staff
March 9, 2013
Close Touch was a winner for The Queen © Getty Images

First Avenue came from a mile back to land an attritional renewal of the Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown.

The eight-year-old was tailed off at one stage, but apprentice rider Nathan Adams did not panic and he brought his mount with a sustained run to claim victory - only the jockey's fourth win of his career.

It paid to be off the pace, as the leaders went hard up front and First Avenue found plenty after the last to scoop the prize - and sets up a potential £75,000 bonus if the horse wins at Cheltenham next week.

Given that the winner came from a mile back, the effort of Kazlian was a notable one. David Pipe's charge was disappointing earlier in the season, but he appeared to show the benefit of a wind operation as he travelled well at the head of affairs and was clear turning for home.

Aside from the eventual winner, Kazlian was the only horse travelling heading to the second last. But he made a stopping blunder and lost momentum.

Tom Scudamore attempted to galvanise his mount but he proved a sitting duck for First Avenue who swept by for victory at 20/1 for trainer Laura Mongan. Tanerko Emery, Kazlian and Barizan filled the places, with Pine Creek in fifth.

Close Touch provided Her Majesty The Queen with a welcome winner following her spell in hospital when routing his rivals in the European Breeders' Fund paddypower.com 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle Final.

Barry Geraghty opted for Close Touch ahead of two other Nicky Henderson runners and it proved an astute move, as he sauntered to the front at the second last and galloped away in the cloying conditions to score at 8/1.

Soll produced an exhibition round of jumping and it proved the difference as he galloped his rivals into the ground in the Download The Paddy Power App Handicap Chase for trainer Jo Hughes and jockey Mark Grant.

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