One Jump Ahead enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Leopardstown on the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival. I hope February Update subscribers took the advice on page 3 and supported Commander of Fleet (13/2) in the Grade 1 novice hurdle. Gordon Elliott's gelding had found two miles too sharp in the Royal Bond NH at Fairyhouse in December and appreciated the step up to two miles six at the Dublin track. Racing prominently under Jack Kennedy, he was still novicey on occasions but found plenty for pressure on the run-in to wear down Joseph O'Brien's Rhinestone to prevail by half a length. The pair were six lengths clear of the rest and the Albert Bartlett NH at the Cheltenham Festival will be next for the lightly raced five year old. The extra couple of furlongs shouldn't be an issue.
Indeed it proved to be a memorable day for Gordon Elliott who also won the Irish Champion Hurdle with his brilliant mare Apples Jade. The former Festival winner trounced her five opponents scoring by sixteen lengths in a quick time. She has three options at Cheltenham, according to connections afterwards. Envoi Allen (4/6) provided the Top 40 Prospects with its second winner from as many runners when making it three wins from three starts in bumpers. The former pointer was conceding weight all round in the Grade 2 event and, despite being taken wide throughout by Jamie Codd, he stayed on dourly in the home straight to beat the well bred Meticulous by a length and a quarter. His trainer suggested afterwards that the Muhtathir gelding will now head to Gloucestershire next month for the Festival bumper. Cheveley Park Stud and Elliott have two tremendous long-term prospects in him and sidelined stablemate Malone Road.
The Top 40 Prospects have now produced 26 winners from 71 runners with a £10 level stake PROFIT of £407.40.
Off You Go (8/1) was highlighted as a horse to follow in the Appendix in One Jump Ahead and Charles Byrnes' charge has justified his inclusion with two wins from three outings this term. Racing off a twenty pounds higher mark than when successful in the two miles handicap hurdle twelve months ago, Mark Walsh's mount picked up well in the home straight coming with a storming late run to reel in Jezki and win going away by a length. Racing off a mark of 143, his revised mark will be around 150 and time will tell whether he heads to Prestbury Park for one of the handicaps. Long-term, the Presenting gelding looks capable of competing in conditons hurdles and is bred to appreciate further coming from the family of Shutthefrontdoor.
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