The action at Newmarket will grab all the headlines in the Sunday newspapers with Nicky Henderson winning the Cesarewitch for a third time courtesy of his high-class hurdler Buzz. However, I found the racing at Chepstow much more compelling with Philip Hobbs continuing his excellent form with a double thanks to Master Legacy and Orbys Legend.
The last named was providing his stable with their fourth win in the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle following his length victory. The former Irish pointer was making his handicap debut off a mark of 130 and only his fourth run over hurdles. Effective on most types of ground, the Milan gelding was handy throughout before being sent to the front between the final couple of hurdles. Eased down in the closing stages, he was value for more than the winning margin. It will be interesting to see where he goes next and, although he is built for fences, it will be a surprise if he doesnt remain over the smaller obstacles for the time being.
Former Silver Trophy winner Tea Clipper made a very good start to his chasing career with a taking performance in the Listed novices' chase over two miles three. Rated 142 over hurdles, the Stowaway gelding finished third in the Coral Cup last spring but has always been viewed as a chaser in the making by Tom Lacey. A winning English pointer, he was thrown in at the deep end on his fencing bow but passed the test with flying colours. Market rivals Fidelio Vallis (5 races), Presentandcounting (6) and Captain Tom Cat (4) had raced fifteen times over fences between themselves beforehand but that didn't prevent Tea Clipper overcoming a lack of chasing experience. Given a good ride by Sam Sheppard, he got the measure of Fidelio Vallis after the second last before running out a comfortable three lengths winner. Long-term, Tea Clipper will come into his own over three miles and is at his best on decent ground. He has a bright future.
The first two home in the opening juvenile hurdle, namely Magistrato and Rocky Man feature in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead and the pair dominated from the outset. It was Paul Nicholls' gelding who prevailed by a dozen lengths racing and jumping with enthusiasm throughout - the stable have won the race seven times in the last twelve years. It is possible the Kapgarde gelding will head to Cheltenham's November meeting for the Grade 2 juvenile hurdle (13th November), which is worth £50,000. The Dan Skelton trained runner-up will have no trouble going one better in a similar even - champion jockey Harry Skelton faced a dilemma because he couldn't afford to give the leader too much rope early on and got very tired after the second last, as a result. He won't always face such a tough opponent.
OJA has made a tremendous start to the season with the Talking Trainers section 9 winners over the two days at Chepstow. There were five more on Saturday with Magistrato (4/7), Masters Legacy (11/1), Tea Clipper (11/4), Orbys Legend (7/1) and Timeforatune (4/6). The last named was another winner for Bromley's Best Buys, too. Below are a couple of quotes from pages 69 and 80.
Orbys Legend - "The Silver Trophy at Chepstow (9th October) is a possible target."
Tea Clipper - "A three miles chaser in the making, he will start off over two and a half miles over fences. The Listed Robert Mottram Memorial Trophy Novices' Chase at Chepstow (9th October) over two miles three is an option provided the ground isn't too soft. He likes good or good to soft ground."
You can't say fairer than that.
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