Friday 18th December was a superb day for followers of One Jump Ahead and the Updates with 9 winners across the three National Hunt meetings. The Top 40 Prospects had 3 winners from 4 runners, including exciting prospects Bob Olinger and Sir Gerhard who look set to play a major role at the spring Festivals in both Britain and Ireland. I will discuss the pair in detail in the forthcoming Christmas Special, which is published next Wednesday (23rd December). The Top 40 Prospects has produced 26 winners thus far with 20 individual winners.
Aside from the Top 40, there were three other results which were particularly pleasing. November Update readers will be fully aware of the high opinion Dan Skelton has of My Drogo. Paul Nicholls' former assistant described the Milan gelding as 'exceptional' when I spoke to him in early November and the five year old has won twice over timber since. Successful at Newbury (100/30) last month, he won the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle at Ascot on Friday with a gutsy display. Staying on strongly on the run-in, he beat some smart types by upwards of two and three quarters of a length at the rewarding odds of 9/1. He will be even better over two and a half miles with the Listed Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon (11th February).
Owned Mike Grech is building up a small but very select team of young horses. The Mancunian businessman is responsible for the likes of Brandy Love, I Am Maximus (the only horse to have beaten My Drogo) and Keskonrisk and his latest success story appears to be Fils D'Oudairies (7/1) who won on his second run for Joseph O'Brien at Navan on Friday. Featured in the French Revolution section of OJA, he fell on his Irish debut at Punchestown last month having raced too enthusiastically. Given a patient ride by Donagh Meyler in the two and a half miles novice chase, he jumped well and was produced with a beautifully timed run to lead at the last. Staying on well, he pulled three and a quarter lengths clear of Braeside. Three miles won't be a problem in due course and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the ex-David Cottin trained gelding develop into an RSA Chase contender.
Knappers Hill (9/2) is highlighted in the Unraced Bumper Horses section (page 166) and he made it two out of two in the Listed bumper at Ascot. A bloodless winner on his debut at Chepstow, this represented a significant step up in class for the gelded son of Valirann but he beat five previous winners by upwards of a length. Partnered by Megan Nicholls, he proved too strong for his stablemate Stage Star and is a cracking long-term prospect. Paul Nicholls will keep him to bumpers this season and is unlikely to be over raced between now and next Autumn when he goes jumping.
Don't forget to order the Christmas Special, if you haven't already done so. Please head to the Publications section of the site.
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