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Shang Tang off the mark over hurdles at Ascot

Shang Tang opened his account at the ninth time of asking when taking a step up in trip in his stride at Ascot.

Out of luck in his three bumpers and five previous hurdle starts, the Emma Lavelle-trained six-year-old finally struck gold on his first attempt over the extended two-mile-five-furlong trip of the Coral “Fail To Finish” Free Bet Novices’ Hurdle.

After jumping the penultimate flight together with early leader and favourite Southfield Harvest, the 9-4 shot soon asserted going down to the last before going on to score by three lengths.

Lavelle said: “He has always been a bit immature. He left home in the horse box facing forwards and he arrived at the racecourse facing backwards. That’s kind of him.

“He was jumping the hurdles so fast I was thinking maybe I should have gone back to two miles, but actually he is a strong-travelling, great-jumping horse that seems to stay and that opens up a world of opportunity for him.

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“He had run some really nice races and if you look at his form there are bits of it that are decent, but it just hasn’t happened for him. I think everyone will have gained confidence today.”

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