Gallyhill provided the Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead with its 35th winner of the season, although he gave his supporters a scare in the two miles novice hurdle at Newbury, which had been won by stablemate Shishkin twelve months earlier. Purchased for a hefty £450,000 in December 2019 by Henrietta Knight on behalf of owner Mike Grech, he was making his Rules debut following an absence of 424 days. Having taken up the running after the third last, the Getaway gelding looked set for a comfortable success. However, Nico De Boinville's mount was headed shortly after the final flight but rallied well to win going away by a length and a quarter. The runner-up Robin's Dream had shaped well on his debut in a bumper at Plumpton and may not be a fair horse but there is no doubt Gallyhill is going to benefit from stepping up to two and a half miles plus in due course.
Despite only finishing fifth in the mares' novices' hurdle, Shirocco's Dream caught the eye. Featured in Declan Phelan's Irish Pointers article in OJA, the six year old was another expensive purchase (£260,000) and she travelled like a decent sort until weakening from the third last. A winning pointer for Donnchadh Doyle, her performance was very much in keeping with a lot of her stablemates at present. Colin Tizzard has gone 29 days without a winner (0 from 20 during January) and so many of the string are going through their races well enough but not finishing them off - Shirocco's Dream is a prime example. Once returning to full health, she is a name to note.
On the other hand, Tom Lacey's string continue in splendid form and the Herefordshire based handler sent out his 28th winner of the campaign at Newcastle and is very much on course to better his personal best tally of 39 during the 2017/18 season. Argonauta (9/2) received a favourable mention by Tom in OJA (page 91) and the Getaway gelding scored at the first time of asking in the opening bumper at Gosforth Park. Partnered by Stan Sheppard, the five year old who cost €60,000 as a store horse a couple of years ago, moved well into contention on the outside before staying on strongly to wear down the favourite Keep Kidding to win by half a length. Likely to be kept to bumpers this term, he is from the family of God's Own and ought to make a smashing hurdler/chaser in future.
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