ELIXIR De Nutz ground out a game all-the-way success to take Grade 1 honours in the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.
Colin Tizzard’s five-year-old – wearing the familiar yellow and black colours of owner Terry Warner – kept up the gallop to see off his four rivals in the hands of Tom O’Brien.
Elixir De Nutz (3/1) put in a good round of jumping and found plenty when tackled by Grand Sancy in the closing stages to score by half a length.
The disappointment of the race was the Nicky Henderson-trained 6/5 favourite Rathhill, who made a mistake early on and was struggling from some way out.
Elixir De Nutz was completing a hat-trick following two wins at Cheltenham and was cut to 14/1 from 20/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Betfair and Paddy Power.
Elixir De Nutz proves too tough to crack at @Sandownpark and brings up the hat-trick in the Grade 1 Unibet Tolworth Hurdle for Tom O'Brien and Colin Tizzard.— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 5, 2019
Results ? https://t.co/7iJOPsvjqx pic.twitter.com/dvyfgM9jDO
Tizzard said: “He has toughed that out again today. Going from the front like that, you have got to be tough. He jumps his hurdles and is away from them so fast. If we held him up I don’t know whether he could do that.
“That is the beauty of him – the way he crosses a hurdle he takes a length out of them every time. If he folded today in second no one would blame him, but he is a tough old boy and has had a hard race today.
“Terry said when he sent him to me he is the best horse he has had for a long time. He has surprised us as he is not that brilliant at home.
"We’ve had him for four runs, three wins and one second, and he is just a very nice horse.
“I wouldn’t think there is any chance of him running between now and Cheltenham, as he has had a tough old race today. He has had four runs already this season and it would be nice to save him for the three festivals later on.”