He may have won at prohibitive odds but the Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead unleashed another smart sort in the ex-French trained Gentleman De Mee at Naas on Saturday. A five year old by Saint Des Saints, he finished runner-up on both his outings over hurdles for Guillaume Macaire before going through the sales ring for €280,000 in November 2019. Returning from an absence of 460 days and having his first run for J.P.McManus and Willie Mullins, he outclassed his rivals in the second division of the two miles maiden hurdle. A shade fresh early on, he jumped well and wasn't hard pressed to beat Don Diablo by four and a half lengths. Chasing will be his game next season, but Gentleman De Mee is an interesting proposition for the spring Festivals. Entered in both the Sky Bet Supreme and Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, it will be intriguing to see what opening rating he is allocated. He is a cracking prospect and provided the Top 40 with its 40th winner of the season.
I had a productive day on the interviewing front on Thursday and Friday for Ahead On The Flat. Clive Cox has trained some top-class sprinters in recent seasons, namely Lethal Force, Harry Angel and Golden Horde and the Lambourn based handler was responsible for the highest rated juvenile last year in Supremacy. An impressive winner of both the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and Group 1 Middle Park Stakes last term, I spoke to Clive about the son of Mehmas and the rest of his string this week. It is the first time I have included him in AOTF but I am sure readers will find it informative and profitable.
I also chatted to Classic winning trainer Ralph Beckett and he, too, has a powerful string for this summer and beyond. Based at Kimpton in Hampshire, Ralph enjoyed a personal best campaign in 2020 with 103 winners. The stable unleashed some exciting prospects last Autumn and combined a strong team of older horses, they have plenty to look forward to in 2021.
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I would also like to thank those subscribers who have booked their place at the Value Racing Club Cheltenham preview night via zoom on Friday 12th March. The response has been excellent and it is much appreciated. We have assembled a strong panel and it should be an enjoyable evening. James Couldwell, racing manager for the syndicate, is organising the event - if you wish to join up, please email James at firstname.lastname@example.org
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