Featured in the Changing Codes section of One Jump Ahead, Metier made it three out of three over timber when winning the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown by a dozen lengths. The Mastercraftsman gelding was bought for 150,000gns in October 2019 having reached a mark of 88 on the Flat when handled by Andrew Slattery in Ireland. Purchased as a perspective Triumph Hurdle candidate, Harry Fry was unable to get a run into him and therefore elected to leave the gelding off until this season. That decision has proved the correct one winning easily at Newton Abbot and Ascot on his first two starts. A natural jumper, he took the rise in class in his stride at the Esher track and was always moving strongly. Rated 142, he moved to the front approaching the final flight before readily pulling clear. All three wins have been gained in testing conditions so it remains to be seen how he handles a sounder surface. However, he has earned a tilt at the Grade 1 Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and he will give the likes of Appreciate It plenty to think about. His jumping and speed will ensure he is a big player in the Festival opener, which will be run on good to soft or slower ground.
Finally, spare a thought to The Edgar Wallace. Kim Bailey's promising youngster headed to Exeter on New Year's Day only for the meeting to be postponed. He was then rerouted to Ayr and presumably travelled up to Scotland later the same day. Unfortunately, temperatures of minus 2 meant that fixture on Saturday was abandoned too. The five year old will certainly sleep well tonight.
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