It was a terrific day for One Jump Ahead on Saturday with 10 winners, including two for the Top 40 Prospects. The afternoon couldn't have got off to a better start with Jerrysback (50/1) defying a huge drift in the market on his second start over fences at Bangor. Well held on his chasing bow at Cheltenham last month, he was available at around 6/1 on Friday. Taken wide by Richie McLernon, he made good headway after the third last in the two and a half miles beginners event and, following a quick leap at the final fence, he readily mastered the well supported Mulcahys Hill to win going away by a length with the pair twenty seven lengths clear of the third. It was a tremendous result.
Talking of novice chasers, Santini made an excellent start to his chasing career with a four lengths win of the three miles novice at Newbury. With the exception of one slow leap down the back straight, Nicky Henderson's Grade 1 winning novice hurdler produced a splendid round of jumping and looked in control some way from home. Pushed out for a comfortable success, his trainer is anticipating considerable improvement from the six year old with the Grade 1 Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day likely to be his next target. If lining up at the Sunbury track, it will be the first time he has raced right handed. The Milan gelding looks every inch an RSA Chase contender.
Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air made it 11 wins from 12 starts over hurdles with a very smooth performance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. Nicky Henderson's charge was winning the event for the second time and recording his seventh Grade 1 win. Sat in behind Samcro turning for home, he proved far too good and speedy for Gordon Elliott's Festival winner as he streaked clear to win by eight lengths. There were no excuses for the runner-up who had the benefit of a run beforehand. Not surprisingly, Supreme NH winner Summerville Boy was cruelly exposed - he doesn't jump well enough to win a Champion Hurdle. Buveur D'Air looked an exceptional hurdler at Gosforth Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was disappointing to see Big River crash out at the tenth fence in the Rehearsal Chase. However, I was pleased to see Lake View Lad (pages 118 & 148 in OJA) win the three miles event on his first start in the famous silks of Trevor Hemmings. Featured in Bromley's Best Buys and Stable Gossip, the Oscar gelding was scoring for the third time over fences and he ran on strongly to win by nearly three lengths off a mark of 139. The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock (19th January) is a possible target, with the likelihood of him getting a Grand National entry.
Lady Buttons (5/2) is featured on page 151 of One Jump Ahead and Phil Kirby's stable star made it two wins from two starts in the concluding two miles handicap chase at Newbury. The eight year old won a Listed mares' hurdle at Wetherby early last month and she looked every bit as good over fences with a two and a quarter lengths win. The daughter of Beneficial tanked through the race and arguably hit the front too soon - she jumped her way to the head of affairs - but it didn't prevent her from outclassing her rivals. Scoring off a mark of 140, she has won three of her four races over fences and the Castleford Chase at Wetherby (27th December) could be her next port of call.
The list of winners in OJA on Saturday were Buveur D'Air (11/8), Finawn Bawn (6/4), Jerrysback (50/1), Kapcorse (12/1), Lady Buttons (5/2), Lake View Lad (8/1), Polydora (15/8), Posh Trish (11/8), Santini (11/8) and Shantaluze (7/4). Thank you to those clients who emailed earlier today - sounds like plenty of you backed Jerrysback. Talk about Christmas coming early - if the remainder of December is like this afternoon, it won't be a bad month. Legendary owner J.P.McManus didn't have a bad day either with 7 winners from 18 runners on either side of the Irish Sea.
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