Irish expert Declan Phelan has unearthed any number of future stars in his Irish Pointers section in One Jump Ahead over the years. He was at it again on Wednesday with My Mate Mozzie (11/8) creating a very favourable impression on his hurdles debut at Punchestown. The two miles maiden hurdle, which kicked off the card, has been won by subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners Labaik (2016) and Samcro (2017), plus Grand National winner Rule The World (2012) in recent years and there must be every possibility the Born To Sea gelding will be making his presence felt in Graded novice hurdles later this campaign. A winning pointer for Mags Mullins prior to being purchased for £205,000 in December last year, he won a bumper at the Punchestown Festival by eight and a half lengths during the spring. Runner-up on the Flat at Ballinrobe in June, he couldn't have made a better start to his hurdles career. Making all under Sean Flanagan, the five year old jumped slickly throughout and had market rival Barbados in trouble after the third last. Stretching clear in the homestraight, he was quick over the final obstacle and won hard held by eight lengths. Even though the Jessica Harrington trained runner-up appears to have an inflated Flat rating of 106 and the others in behind don't look any great shakes, it was an eyecatching performance. It is early in the season to be getting excited about the spring Festivals, but quotes of 25/1 and 33/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme and Ballymore Novices' Hurdles respectively look very fair. Trainer Gavin Cromwell indicated afterwards that My Mate Mozzie doesn't want deep mid winter ground and will be at his best on 'nice ground,' which isn't usually a disadvantage when it comes to the Cheltenham Festival. He looks smart.
Galvin, one of my ante-post fancies for the Grand National, made a pleasing start to the season with a cosy half length win in the Grade 3 chase later on the same card. Unbeaten in five races last term, including the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Gordon Elliott's seven year old conceded eight pounds to the two Willie Mullins trained runners Annamix and Brahma Bull who were both race fit. Despite being untidy at the fourth and third last, he took over after the penultimate fence and was nudged out to score with a bit in hand. Reunited with Davy Russell (5 from 11), he is another who enjoys decent ground and one can imagine his whole season will revolve around Aintree next spring.
It was another decent day for followers of One Jump Ahead. In addition to the two winners at Punchestown, Flight Deck (9/4) was another victory for the Talking Trainers section at Wetherby. Jonjo O'Neill's seven year old had won over timber at Bangor in January having fallen on his chasing bow at Huntingdon three months earlier. Absent since finishing fourth at Ascot in February, he won the staying handicap hurdle off a mark of 130 despite a less than fluent leap at the last. The Getaway gelding appears to only do enough in his races but there is no mistaking his ability. If he can get his act together jumping wise, he should prove equally as good, if not better, over fences one day. This was only his eighth career start.
All orders received for OJA before lunchtime on Wednesday having been posted - those received since will be sent out on Thursday morning. I am then heading to Carlisle for their first jumps meeting of the season.
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