Just over half an hour after the imperious success of Jonbon in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase, the combination of owner J.P. McManus, trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville were in the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure once again courtesy of Iberico Lord (7/1) in the £100,000 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Lookaway, a Grade 2 winner over the course and distance at The Showcase Meeting last month, made the running in the extended two-mile contest and looked to have seen off all challengers until Iberico Lord loomed up menacingly after the last.
It was the latter who came home the strongest, getting up to score by two and a half lengths. Henderson was also responsible for the third home Luccia who was a further four and a half lengths adrift.
Henderson, who was saddling his first Greatwood winner, said: “We wanted to get a team assembled for this meeting as J.P. was coming back for it so we gathered a few of the troops together for the weekend with Impose Toi and these two and it has paid off.
“Under Control, who is going for the Gerry Feilden at Newbury, beat him at Sandown fair and square and there was no fluke about it. I thought he was very good to start with then he fell on his second start for us, then his wind didn’t work in his next one and then everything went wrong, but we got him there at the end of the day.
“Apparently this is my first time winning this race, but I can’t remember what happened 40 something years ago, but at least Unibet sponsor this race now as they are very good sponsors as they sponsor this race and me.
“It took time for him to get his act together last season. He won a very moderate race at Stratford and it didn’t sound like we were heading for the Greatwood Hurdle at that time. The Sandown run was good, but Under Control might be pretty good too.
“AP said he thought the Ascot race (Betfair Exchange Trophy) would suit Impose Toi, but so it would this horse. One of them will have to go there but as JP said that is a nice problem to solve. It has been a good weekend altogether and Nico has given them all some lovely rides.”