Horse Racing with Jason Hall – Aintree winner Ubak ‘nearly died at Christmas’

Two Rockers ridden by Wayne Hutchinson (left) and Ubak ridden by Jamie Moore compete during the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle on Ladies Day, during the Cheltenham Festival.
Two Rockers ridden by Wayne Hutchinson (left) and Ubak ridden by Jamie Moore compete during the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle on Ladies Day, during the Cheltenham Festival.

Sussex trainer Gary Moore scored a fabulous success on the most famous day of racing when his young French import Ubak ran away with the opening race on the Grand National card at Aintree last Saturday.

The prestigious Grade 2 Mersey Novices Hurdle has been won by some high class horses in the past, including the likes of Tidal Bay, Spirit Son and Simonsig. Ubak added his name to this illustrious roll of honour with a display as dominant and decisive as one could wish to see.

The five-year-old was still a maiden going into the race but was not unfancied by connections to run a big race – as Gary explained.

“This horse nearly died around Christmas. He got a rare infection and it didn’t look good, but the vet did a brilliant job and, with a great deal of care from him and everyone in the team, we got him back. When he went to Cheltenham, it was his first run back and he wasn’t one hundred per cent but still ran a good race.

“It was a great reward for everyone for him to win. He’s come back from Liverpool with a cut on his leg but should be alright to go to France for his next run in the Prix Barka”.

On the same card at Aintree, the Grade 1 Maghull Novice Chase was run and it looked for a long way as though Gary would add to the success of Ubak with another fine horse in his care.

He said: “After they jumped the cross fence, I was starting to fancy Sire De Grugy, but he just got tired after the second last.

“He hadn’t run for a while and I’d wanted to get a racecourse gallop into him before Liverpool, but didn’t get any help from the local tracks.

“You’ve got to be 110 percent for these Grade 1 races and maybe a gallop was the difference. He’ll now go to the Celebration Chase at Sandown where he should be spot on.”