Apologies for not updating the Diary for a couple of days but I have been working on the Christmas Special, which is due to be emailed to clients next weekend. I will confirm which day next week. If you haven't already ordered a copy, please head to the Publications section of the site. The Update is £6.00.
I was pleased with Chantry House's victory in the opening novices' hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday. Featured in the Top 40 Prospects, the form of his bumper win at Warwick in March has worked out well and he made the perfect start to his hurdling career at Prestbury Park. Despite still showing signs of greenness, Barry Geraghty always looked in control aboard the Yeats gelding. Nicky Henderson stated afterwards that the five year old will be kept low key for the time being. He has a bright future.
David Pipe has had a terrific first half of the season with 44 winners on the board already. The head of Pond House landed the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday for the second time - twelve years after Tamarinbleau's victory - with Warthog. The grey, who had finished third in the Betvictor Gold Cup last month, rallied well on the run-in having been headed by Spiritofthegames. Pipe has trained 6 winners from 25 runners during the last fortnight and he also sent out Buster Edwards (25/1) to win at Hereford during the same afternoon.
Navajo Pass (100/30) won the Grade 2 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster for Donald McCain. Featured in the Changing Codes section of One Jump Ahead, the Nathaniel gelding had won on his hurdles bow at Bangor before being collared late on at Bangor next time. Back to winning ways here, he stayed on strongly and overcame a stumble at the last to beat Lord Lamington by nearly four lengths. Unlikely to be good enough to win a Triumph Hurdle, he is a fair sort who relishes soft ground. Having had three relatively quick races, it is hoped he is given a break now.
The Grade 2 December Novices' Chase on Town Moor was billed as a big clash between two unbeaten northern trained Sam Spinner and Windsor Avenue. Unfortunately, the race didn't live up to expectations with the former winning easily. Overcoming a bad mistake at the sixth last, Joe Colliver's mount strolled clear in the homestraight. Brian Ellison's runner appeared to be legless by the third last and, while the immediate thought is that he didn't stay but I am not convinced that explains his performance. Having been headed early on, he never jumped with his the same fluency he had displayed at either Sedgefield or Carlisle. Brian Hughes' partner never looked happy. As regards the winner, he is now three from three over fences but I am still far from convinced he will match his exploits over hurdles. He can't afford a repeat of that mistake at the sixth last when racing at the highest level.
In total, there were 6 winners in One Jump Ahead on Saturday, namely Buster Edwards (25/1), First Flow (1/9), Monkfish (1/2), My Old Gold (4/1), Navajo Pass (100/30) and Warthog (7/1). Plus, the November Update unearthed Baron De Midleton (6/1) and Wolf Prince (9/10). The latter looks a really smart prospect for Gavin Cromwell. The Pour Moi gelding was bought out of Amy Murphy's yard for 35,000gns at the Newmarket Autumn Sales and, having finished third on his first try over obstacles at Punchestown last month, he bolted up by fourteen lengths at Fairyhouse on Saturday. He looks a shrewd acquistion and could head to Leopardstown on Boxing Day for a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle.
Weather permitting, I am working at Carlisle on Sunday for RacingTV and will therefore update the Diary early next week.
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