The Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead continued its decent run of form with Mick Pastor (6/4) returning to winning ways in the opening juvenile hurdle at Ludlow on Wednesday. The ex-French gelding, who had beaten a subsequent Grade 1 winner at Auteuil, was far too keen on his British debut at Cheltenham in November and was also found to have choked. Given a break and fitted with a tongue tie, Paul Nicholls' charge settled much better on this occasion and barely came off the bridle to win by six and a half lengths. Given the fact the runner-up Prefontaine is rated 128, the son of Meshaheer is likely to be allocated an opening mark in the mid 130s. It will therefore be interesting to see if Mick Pastor is tried in another Graded contest between now and March or even saved for something like the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This was much more like it though and, provided he settles, he ought to have a productive second half of the season.
Fontaine Collonges (7/2) is featured in the French Revolution section of OJA and Venetia Williams' new recruit made a striking impression on her first start in the UK. Contesting the division one of the mares' bumper at the Shropshire track, the Saddler Maker filly was given a patient ride by Charlie Deutsch. A shade keen early on, she was positioned on the outside throughout before making stealthy headway on the final bend. Once turning in, the five year old picked up well and was good value for her two and a quarter lengths winning margin. Purchased for €180,000 at the Arqana Sale in May last year, she was expensive but looks a mare of considerable potential. Jumping fences will be her game eventually but there are plenty of races to be won with her between now and then.
It was a good day overall at Ludlow for followers of One Jump Ahead with 4 of the 7 winners included. Dolphin Square (7/4) and Kalooki (11/8) were both featured in Philip Hobbs' interview in the Talking Trainers section.
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