Dame De Compagnie, who is featured in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead, looks a filly of considerable potential when winning on her British debut at Uttoxeter. Runner-up over hurdles at Auteuil, the daughter of Lucarno joined Nicky Henderson during the summer and she couldn't have won much easier at the Midlands track. Partnered by Barry Geraghty, the four year old jumped fluently and accurately and didn't come off the bridle to dispose of eleven rivals by upwards of a length and three quarters. It is early days but the ex-French trained filly looks set to develop into a prime candidate for the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. She seemingly has the size and scope to make a terrific chaser one day, too.
There was indeed some very good racing at Uttoxeter and River Wylde made a pleasing start to his chasing career when taking the two miles beginners chase by three lengths. The likes of Garde La Victoire, Bristol De Mai, Le Prezien and Top Notch have started their chasing careers in the same event in recent seasons and the 2017 renewal looked equally competitive. Nico De Boinville's mount had too much speed for the well supported Hell's Kitchen in the closing stages and, while his trainer believes he will stay further, the former Irish pointer looks more than quick enough for the minimum trip. Something like the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton (27th December), a race Henderson has won 9 times, is a possible mid season target.
River Wylde finished third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. The runner-up in the Festival opener was Melon and Willie Mullins' gelding made a winning reappearance at Down Royal this afternoon. Sent off a warm favourite, Ruby Walsh had to get after his mount on the run to the final hurdle. Ultimately, the Medicean gelding won decisively by four and a half lengths and he remains open to further improvement. However, his performance didn't scream one of a future Champion hurdler.
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