Taunton staged the first hunter chase in the UK in 2020 and it was won in spectacular fashion by Wishing And Hoping. Highlighted as a hunter chaser to follow in the Christmas Special, Philip Rowley's gelding galloped his opponents into submission with a powerful display. A five lengths winner, his performance was all the more remarkable due to the fact he jumped markedly to his left for much of the contest. The ten year old, who had won a point-to-point on his reappearance at Ffos Las in December, produced some bold leaps and looks an exciting prospect for the season ahead. Formerly trained by Alan King, the Beneficial gelding is now qualified for the Foxhunters' at Cheltenham and he is likely to provide stiff opposition to stablemate and last year's winner Hazel Hill. Looking further ahead, he looks tailormade for the Aintree Foxhunters - his jumping would be a sight to behold over the National fences.
It was low key action at Lingfield but Sam Brown produced a stunning display on his chasing bow. Absent for 750 days, the eight year old was featured in the Top 40 Prospects of One Jump Ahead last season but never raced. A smart bumper performer in his younger days, he jumped brilliantly in the two miles seven novices' chase, with the exception of one fence down the backstraight. Like some many of Anthony Honeyball's string, he revels in the mud and crossed the line twenty two lengths in front of the runner-up Just Your Type. Rated 135 over hurdles, the Black Sam Bellamy gelding has the potential to reach a considerably higher mark over fences, if he stays in one piece. It was his first run beyond two miles five and he left the impression he will stay all day. It is not difficult to envisage him lining up in the Welsh or Midlands National one day. It will be interesting to see where he goes next.
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