Three Stripe Life finally claimed a Grade 1 victory in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Saturday.
Gordon Elliott’s charge had finished second at the highest level on his three previous runs, chasing home Mighty Potter on the first occasion before finding Sir Gerhard too good at both Leopardstown and Cheltenham on his last two outings.
With Willie Mullins’ superstar not in opposition this time, Three Stripe Life was the 5/2 favourite in the hands of Davy Russell and made the most of the opportunity in this two-and-a-half-mile contest.
He was well in control jumping the last and while Might I tried to put up a fight on the run to the line, Three Stripe Life was just too good, coming home four and three-quarter lengths to the good. North Lodge was third, beaten a further three and three-quarter lengths.
Elliott said: “He’s deserved that, he’s a good horse. We bought him to be a chaser and if you look at him, that’s what he’ll go and do.
“He’s bumped into Sir Gerhard a couple of times, who is a very good horse, and he’s done little wrong all year.
“It’s nice for him to get his day in the sun and Kenny and Laura Haughey (owners) are here, they are good supporters of ours so it’s great.
“He’ll definitely go chasing next year. He’s in at Punchestown, but he’s been busy enough so we’ll just see.”
Russell added: “These colours are very, very important to me, Kenny Haughey is a huge supporter of our yard. He’s been very patient with this horse and we’re so happy he’s delivered for Kenny.”
?? "He jumped great & was very brave."— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 9, 2022
Winning rider @_Davy_Russel_ on success for Three Stripe Life in the G1 @betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle at @AintreeRaces @gelliott_racing #RandoxGrandNational pic.twitter.com/pWeELKtql5
Of Might I, trainer Harry Fry said: “He went to Sandown and started favourite giving 3lb to Constitution Hill.
“He then ran into Jonbon at Haydock and with a rating of 135 we couldn’t get him to Cheltenham.
“I feel I’ve made a bit of a mess of it winning just one novice with him, but now that he settles he will get further.
“So we will keep him over hurdles and aim at some nice staying prizes including a three mile handicap at Haydock in November.”