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‘A hell of an achievement’ – Iwilldoit shrugs off 383-day absence in Classic

Saturday: Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase, Warwick

Iwilldoit made a triumphant return on his first start in over a year to win the Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase for Sam Thomas.

The ten-year-old had not run since his victory in the 2021 Welsh Grand National but defied a 383-day layoff to power clear in the marathon handicap under Stan Sheppard.

The Willie Mullins-trained Mr Incredible made a late charge in the testing conditions to claim second from Notachance, who was bidding to become the first dual winner of the race.

“It was very impressive,” said Sheppard. “If anyone deserves the credit it’s Sam, after 383 days off the track to race like that first time out – it’s a hell of an achievement to get him that way.

“He travelled brilliantly, jumped brilliantly, it never really felt like it was in any doubt from my point of view.”

Iwilldoit was quoted at 25-1 to become the first horse since One For Arthur to go on from victory in the Classic Chase to Grand National glory, with the race sponsors offering a £100,000 bonus should he complete the double.

The victory was also an emotional first success of the year for Thomas, whose last big win was November’s Grand Sefton just days after the trainer was involved in a helicopter crash with owner Dai Walters.

Thomas said: “He’s a fair horse, the most genuine horse you’d wish to train. It’s a credit to everyone at home and it’s brilliant, just what we need.”

By Catherine Macrae of the www.racingpost.com

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