Crambo hits back of the net for O’Brien in EBF Final

Crambo came out on top after a pulsating finish to the EBF Final at Sandown.

A dual bumper winner at Huntingdon last season, Fergal O'Brien's charge picked up where he left off when making a successful hurdling debut at Ascot in November.

The six-year-old was pulled up in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year's Eve, but a subsequent wind operation appeared to do the trick as he comfortably bounced back to winning ways at Bangor last month to earn himself another step up in grade in this £80,000 novices' handicap.

Ridden positively from flag-fall by Connor Brace, Crambo disputed the early running before moving into a clear lead heading out onto the second circuit.

The 15-2 chance looked like he might have to make do with minor honours after being challenged and passed by Inneston early in the home straight, but Brace never panicked and his mount rallied bravely on the run-in to get back up and score by half a length.

O'Brien said: "Connor gets on very well with the horse and we've never got to the bottom of him.

"Even when the horse passed him today, we hadn't given up as we knew he'd dig in. He did it Ascot, where he had to grind it out and won cosily in the end, and at Bangor the other day it was the same.

"I wouldn't say he won cosily today, but he got the job done under a very good, positive ride. I'm delighted for Connor as he deserves his chance and he's taken it today.

"I'll have to speak to the owners and we'll make a plan. I think the ground is important to him – he wouldn't want it quick. There's probably something at Aintree for him if it came up soft enough."

Larchmont Lass lunged late to secure Listed honours in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Previously placed at Ascot and Wincanton, the Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old was a 9-2 shot stepping up in class in the hands of Harry Cobden.

Casa No Mento battled bravely in front in an attempt to preserve her unbeaten record, but she was unable to resist the thrust of Larchmont Lass, with a neck separating the pair at the line.

Nicholls, like Cobden completing a double following the Imperial Cup victory of Iceo, said of Larchmont Lass: "She's not been easy as she's been very keen. We put a hood on her today for the first time, just to try and get her to settle, which she did.

"Turning into the straight I thought we'd given her plenty to do, but Harry felt they were always coming back to him and she got up on the line.

"She's had three runs and she'll go out now (for a summer break). She'll be a lovely novice hurdler next year. A lovely summer will do her the world of good."

Gary Moore's Spirit D'Aunou was all out to justify odds-on favouritism in the Racing Only Bettor Podcast Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

A narrowly beaten second on his Kempton debut, the four-year-old had since struck gold at Huntingdon and Ludlow and was the 5-6 favourite to complete his hat-trick under the trainer's son Jamie.

Havaila came at him hard racing up the hill, but Spirit D'Aunou stuck to his guns to prevail by half a length.

"He was a four-year-old carrying a lot of weight out there so it wasn't going to be easy for him," said Moore senior.

"I didn't know if this horse would go in the ground or not or not, but he is a very genuine horse and I like him a lot.

"He is still a baby learning and he is going to improve with racing and time. I'd like to think he would go to Ascot in early April for that juvenile handicap hurdle there."

The Moores doubled up with Hudson De Grugy (11-4) in the Betfair Daily Multiples Offer At Cheltenham Novices' Handicap Chase.

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