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Modus 'getting there' in maintaining unbeaten record over hurdles at Newbury

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Modus made it two wins from as many starts since joining champion trainer Paul Nicholls when getting the better of a tight finish to the bet365 Novices' Hurdle at Newbury.

Modus made it two wins from as many starts since joining champion trainer Paul Nicholls when getting the better of a tight finish to the bet365 Novices' Hurdle at Newbury.

After easily winning at long odds-on 14 days ago at Taunton, the smart bumper performer maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles in the extended two-mile event.

Although having travelled well throughout the race, the five-year-old needed to be shaken up by Barry Geraghty on the run to the last to close on leader Charmix.

Despite being made to work harder than he would have liked, the 1-2 favourite eventually mastered the Harry Fry-trained runner, getting up close home to score by an ultimately cosy neck.

Geraghty said: "He had a little bit of work to do on the run to two out. I knew I had enough in the tank to win, but I wasn't sure I had enough left to hold on for long. Because of that I held on to him for as long as possible.

"He was workmanlike. He coped with the ground, but it made him work harder than he would have liked."

Nicholls said: "It was job done again. He was very keen when we first had him and I've been trying to get him to settle and relax. He is getting there.

"In time he will want a faster-run race on better ground. It's all about getting experience into him and not being too hard on him.

"That's probably as soft as he would want it. He is a work in progress and the best will come in the spring."