There were some interesting novice events on Tuesday with Soft Risk getting the ball rolling on his hurdles debut at Ayr. Nicky Richards' five year old had impressed when winning a bumper on his racecourse bow over course and distance in May and is held in high regard at Greystoke. With the exception of the second last, his jumping was good and Brian Hughes' mount never looked like getting beaten. Leading at the second last, he was pushed clear to win comfortably by a handful of lengths. He did what he was entitled to and much stiffer tasks lie ahead but it was a solid start to his hurdles career. Expect the James Westoll owned gelding to be kept low key for the time being.
Stablemate Paddock Cottage ran promisingly on his debut in the concluding bumper. A gelded son of Pour Moi who cost £45,000 as a store horse a couple of years ago, he has been given plenty of time to mature and, while he showed signs of greenness through the race, he finished off well to fill third position. Beaten seven and a half lengths by the well regarded Carnfunnock, he is capable of winning a similar event before sent jumping. As regards the winner, he is another promising type trained by Stuart Crawford who is handling an increasing collection of talented youngsters owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Declan Phelan's Irish Pointers were amongst the winners once again with Bill Baxter and Viva Lavilla scoring at Ayr and Lingfield respectively. The former had chased home Iron Bridge on his hurdles debut at Ffos Las last month. Given a positive ride, the Milan gelding stayed on strongly to withstand the persistent challenge of Salvino in the homestraight to win by two and a quarter lengths. A three miler in the making, he enjoys some ease in the ground and is very much a chaser in the making.
Viva Lavilla was making his Rules debut having won his sole point when trained by Denis Murphy. Bought privately by Dan Skelton, he lined up in a two and a half miles maiden hurdle and produced a smart performance to win by a length and three quarters. The Getaway gelding travelled and jumped well and looks an exciting recruit for his owner Darren Yates, who has invested heavily in bloodstock during recent years. Kyntara could only finish third in the same event leaving the impression he either needs softer ground or further, or both. Kim Bailey's ex-UK pointer jumped big at a number of the obstacles and couldn't match the winner for speed after the second last. He looks a stayer on this evidence.
It was frustrating to see Houka D'Oudairies crash out at the second last in the two miles novice hurdle. Gary Moore's filly had run well on his British debut at Huntingdon last month and took on the geldings here. Despite racing a shade keenly early on, she was still very much in contention when hitting the deck at the penultimate flight. It is impossible to say where she would have finished but the four year od appeared to be travelling better than the eventual winner Pipesmoker who had come off the bridle a long way from home. Incidentally, the race the aforementioned Iron Bridge (Top 40 Prospects) won at Ffos Las has already produced a couple of winners, namely Bill Baxter and Pipesmoker.
The 7 winners featured in One Jump Ahead on Tuesday were African Dance (5/2), Bill Baxter (1/2), Major Dundee (6/1), Pipesmoker (5/4), Sidi Ismael (4/1), Soft Risk (1/2) and Viva Lavilla (15/8).
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