The Top 40 Prospects has made a slow start to say the least this Autumn but Sporting John (11/4) looked a smart recruit when winning the two miles one novices' hurdle at Exeter on Tuesday. The Getaway gelding, who won his only Irish point before being purchased for £160,000, sat in behind long time leaders Harry Senior and Bullionaire and still had plenty to do going to the final flight. However, Barry Geraghty's mount quickened up well on the run-in to win snugly by a length and three quarters. The runner-up Harry Senior had the benefit of a run beforehand suggesting it was a very good performance performance by Philip Hobbs' charge. It will be interesting to see where he heads next.
Cat Tiger, who is featured in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead, appreciated the step up to two miles five in the opening novices' hurdle. A three times winner over fences in France, the David Maxwell owned and ridden gelding had finished runner-up over two miles on his British debut at Worcester last month. Ridden to the fore, he withstood the persistent challenge from Welsh Saint after the last before prevailing by a neck with twelve lengths back to the third. Trainer Paul Nicholls indicated afterwards that the Diamond Boy gelding will be even better over three miles. Something like the Grade 2 Bristol Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham (14th December) could be an option next month.
Talking of the champion trainer, Paul Nicholls' interview in Talking Trainers is beginning to churm out the winners. Cat Tiger's win follows his double at Plumpton on Monday, courtesy of Calva D'Auge (100/30) and Dan McGrue (13/2).
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