I am afraid it was a disappointing day for the Top 40 in OJA with Atomix hitting the deck at the last in the opening maiden hurdle at Musselburgh, while Cruiseaweigh burst a blood vessel when finishing a tailed off seventh at Newbury. The former was making heavy weather of justifying short odds at the Scottish venue and, while he was still in second position at the time, I suspect he would have prevailed. It has been a desperately unlucky twenty four hours for Peter Niven with Brian Boranha being disqualified at Catterick yesterday after Brian Hughes weighed in two pounds light. Hopefully, his luck will change shortly. The latter had looked such a promising sort when winning a bumper at Aintree in November but it has gone badly wrong ever since. Forced to pull up at Sandown on his hurdles debut earlier this month having hung to his left, Cruiseaweigh was reappearing only eleven days later at the Berkshire track this afternoon. Once again, he raced enthusiastically but was in trouble before turning for home. The fact he has burst once leaves a question mark over his future. This race almost certainly came too soon after his run at Sandown.
On a happier note, the One Jump Ahead Update for the Open meeting at Cheltenham continues to churn out the winner. Owner Grahame Whateley spoke fondly about former Irish pointer Sneaky Feeling (25/1) and the Philip Hobbs trained gelding got the better of the well regarded Bags Groove in the two mile three novices' hurdle. The Oscar gelding had clearly learned a lot from his run in a bumper at Market Rasen last time and appreciated the step up in distance. Considered a chaser for the future, he looks a nice long-term prospect.
Alan King has few peers when it comes to juvenile hurdlers and Cosmeapolitan made a winning start to his jumping career. A progressive type on the level earlier in the year, he produced one or two indifferent leaps at time but will have benefited from the experience. A seven lengths winner, it is worth noting he failed to stay a mile and six on the Flat and may prove at his best on flat and sharp tracks over timber. In other words, I wouldn't be rushing to back him for the Triumph Hurdle (stamina sapping New course). Races such as the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton in February or the Grade 1 juvenile at Aintree appeal more.
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