Despite a few indifferent jumps, Top 40 Prospects entrant Easy As That won at the third time of asking over hurdles on his handicap debut at Chepstow on Friday. Venetia Williams' dual bumper winner had been let down by his jumping on his two previous starts at Bangor and the Welsh track and had been allocated an opening rating of 114. Stepping up in trip, Gavin Sheehan's mount gave chase on longtime leader Eamon An Cnoic in the homestraight and had the measure of David Pipe's runner by the second last. Staying on strongly, he wasn't fluent at the last but pulled away to win by nine lengths. The handicapper is unlikely to be kind but provided he can brush up his jumping, the Sans Frontieres gelding will remain competitive. He is a talented horse. It has been a good couple of days for the Top 40.
I was disappointed by the defeat of Homme Public in the opening juvenile hurdle at Catterick. Olly Greenall's four year old was making his UK debut having finished runner-up twice at Auteuil during the Autumn. That form looked strong and it looked a good opportunity to get off the mark at the third time of asking. However, the Cokoriko gelding found the 110 rated Tinnahalla two and three quarters of a length too strong. Despite a mistake at the second last, he had every chance but couldn't get the better of Olly Murphy's winner. I was parked next to his rider Sean Quinlan and spoke to the in-form jockey after racing. He felt that Homme Public took a blow at the second last and needed the run. It will be interesting to see what mark he is given having raced three times. I am hoping he is better than he showed on Friday.
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