Tedham, who was highlighted as a horse to follow in the Christmas Special, made a winning handicap debut at Wincanton on Saturday. Jonjo O'Neill's gelding had run well on his first three starts over hurdles (all over two miles) and was allocated an opening mark of 125. Stepped up to two miles five at the West Country venue, he was produced between the final two flights before staying on strongly on the run-in to score with something in hand. A length and three quarters winner, the Shirocco gelding is a progressive type and it will be interesting to see if he develops into a candidate for something like the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle with Jonjo O'Neill jnr on board. There are more races to be won with him.
Laurina, who is featured on the front cover of One Jump Ahead and featured in the Top 40 Prospects, made short work of her sole opponent Sensulano in the Listed mares' hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. The runner-up had won two of two this season and is officially rated 134. However, Willie Mullins' Festival winner destroyed her by 48 lengths conceding three pounds. There is every possibility she will now head straight to Cheltenham for the Champion Hurdle and I still believe she will provide the stiffest opposition to the reigning dual Champion Buveur D'Air.
The Top 40 was also on the mark on Sunday with Phoenix Way (11/8) winning at the third time of asking at Plumpton. Harry Fry's former Irish point had shaped with promise on both his starts over two miles at Bangor and Sandown. Tackling two and a half miles for the first time at the Sussex track, he was given a confident ride by Aidan Coleman, who was deputising for the sidelined Barry Geraghty. Although he only prevailed by a length from previous C&D winner Third Wind, in receipt of six pounds, the Stowaway gelding was value for more than the winning margin and is very much a horse to follow. He has size and scope and jumps particularly well and is one for the future. I think he is a smashing long-term prospect.
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