Apple Equipment’s Winner Massagot, a close second in his U.S. debut, soared over the Montpelier Hunt Races’ natural brush fences with jockey Tom Garner and drew away impressively to a 16-length victory in Saturday’s $40,000 Noel Laing Handicap.
Trained by Richard Valentine, French-bred Winner Massagot had jumped the last fence on the historic Montpelier grounds in company with Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose and drew clear through the stretch run. Irv Naylor’s Osmoz finished third, 16 lengths behind All the Way Jose. Rosbrian Farm’s and Meadow Run Farm’s Clarcam finished fourth, another 5 1/4 lengths back. Mercoeur, the 2017 Noel Laing winner, was fifth.
Clarcam set the early pace under Kieran Norris while Garner tarried in midfield with Winner Massagot through the first circuit of the 2 1/2-mile Noel Laing. As Clarcam tired, All the Way Jose under Jack Doyle took up the running with a sharp burst approaching the final fences, and Winner Massagot kicked in with what would be a last-to-first move.
Winner Massagot ran the Noel Laing distance in 5:27.20.
A handicap winner in England in early September, Winner Massagot had finished second, beaten a half-length, in his U.S. debut in a Far Hills ratings handicap on Oct. 20.