Veteran Not So Sleepy takes the Fighting Fifth at the tender age of 11

By Peter Moore at Sandown Park 9th December 2023

Unique veteran Not So Sleepy cashed in on the absence of both Constitution Hill and Shishkin by winning one of the featured races on day two of the Tingle Creek Festival at a packed Sandown Park on Saturday.

After trainer Nicky Henderson pulled out both of his big guns due to the ground, the race was left with just four runners.

The Eleven year old under Sean Bowen was taking part in the fourth running of the race having dead heated with Epatante in 2021. This time around there was no need to worry about a dead heat with the gelding beating Love Envoi by an impressive eight lengths to give Bowen his second winner of the afternoon and put Not So Sleepy into the record books as the oldest winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

The other feature race on the eight race card was the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase, which was reduced to only four runners when Boothill was declared a non-runner due to the ground.

Jonbon was sent off the odds on favourite and duly obliged under Nico de Boinville to once again get the better of Edwardstone- who he beat two weeks ago in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham last month- by two and three quarter lengths with a very impressive show of jumping.

Bowen was successful in the opening race of the day under Booster Bob who made it three wins in a row after following up his recent Uttoxeter victory.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore brought up a double at the Surrey track after Le Patron with David Noonan on board beat five other runners to win the Grade 1 Henry V111 Novice’s Steeple Chase.

Moore admitted after the race he was surprised that Le Patron won, but said the horse is an excellent jumper which clearly helped him around the two miles, with the horse coming into the race under two successive victories.

With Noonan stepping in for the sidelined Jamie Moore, it also started the first of a cross the card treble for Gary Moore after Spirit D’Aunou backed up his CD win at the track with victory in the 2m handicap hurdle and Nassalam winning the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.