There was graded action at Ascot on Friday with the unbeaten Jonbon providing the highlight in the Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle. Nicky Henderson's ex-pointer had impressed on his hurdles debut at Newbury last month and it was a case of more of the same as he made a smooth transition to Grade 2 company. Similar to his reappearance, the five year old was forced to cut out his own running with none of rivals keen to set the pace but it made no difference as he readily brushed aside four opponents by upwards of two and three quarters of a length. Aidan Coleman's mount upped the temp approaching the second last and only had to be pushed out to register an easy win. His connections indicated afterwards that Douvan's younger brother will have one more race before heading to the Cheltenham Festival and the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He is a hugely exciting prospect who has got everything.
Authorised Speed ran well in the concluding Listed bumper only finding Henri The Second too good. Held in high regard by Gary Moore, the four year old was prominent throughout and held every chance turning for home. It looked as though Jamie Moore's mount was going to reel in the winner but couldn't get the better of Paul Nicholls' winner. A length separated the pair. Given the fact the season is nearly at the halfway stage, it is likely the runner-up will remain in bumpers for the rest of the season. The winner is also expected to continue in bumpers before going hurdling next Autumn. A half-brother to stablemate Enrilo, he is a smart sort.
Frenchy Du Large (15/8) is featured in the Handicap Snips section of One Jump Ahead and Venetia Williams' grey got no further than the second fence on his chasing debut at Carlisle last month. However, the Al Namix gelding made amends with a comfortable five lengths win in the two and a half miles handicap chase at Uttoxeter off a mark of 120. The six year old appeared to be out of his comfort zone during the early stages but warmed to his task and it was apparent he would take some stopping turning for home. On this evidence, he will be even better over further and is a progressive young chaser.
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