Top 40 Prospects entry The Big Bite (9/4) made a smooth start to his hurdling career with a five lengths victory at Chepstow. Tom George's gelding had won a couple of bumpers and wasn't disgraced at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Ridden by Noel Fehily, he was always travelling strongly and took charge after the second. A fine leap at the final flight sealed his win. His jockey was complimentary afterwards, although he feels the Scorpion gelding may not want bottomless ground. His stable are blessed with some very promising youngsters and The Big Bite looks capable of mixing it at Graded level this season. He is a lovely prospect.
Kateson (2/1) also boasted some smart bumper form last term winning on his debut at Chepstow before finishing runner-up in the Grade 2 championship event at Aintree last spring. Tom Lacey's grey returned to the Welsh venue for his jumping bow and, despite carrying his head rather high, he ran out a comfortable three and a half lengths winner of the two miles three maiden hurdle. The grey produced a terrific round of jumping, including at the final flight, and he is bred to stay further. He is another nice long-term prospect who looks sure to win more races.
The rain arrived at Chepstow and it was an excellent days racing with some useful horses on show. Paul Nicholls trained his fifth bumper winner from only nine runners this season when former Irish pointer Silver Forever ran away with the last. She looks one to follow and it would be no surprise to see her kept to bumpers this season. The runner-up Balleticon is another to keep an eye on. Well regarded by Kim Bailey, he went through the race like a good horse but time may show he faced an impossible task conceding weight to the winner. Once sent hurdling, it won't be long before the Arakan gelding gets off the mark. With meetings at Newbury, Aintree and Wincanton amongst others over the next few days, it feels as though the jumps season has finally arrived. Don't forget to order your copy of the first One Jump Ahead Update - please head to the Publications section of the site.
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