It was another disappointing day for the Top 40 Prospects with a handful of losers, although three of them ran respectably, one was set an impossible task and the other was desperate.
Soaring Glory was advised at 12/1 for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in the February Update and Jonjo O'Neill's six year old enhanced novices' already impressive record in the two miles event still further with a fine performance on Sunday. Given a splendid and sensible ride by Jonjo O'Neill jnr, he belied his lack of jumping experience with a good round of hurdling and travelled powerfully throughout. Rated 133, he stayed on strongly on the run-in to beat Fifty Ball by three lengths and booked his place in the line-up in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham Festival. Get Me Out of Here won this for the same stable off a mark of 135 in 2010 before narrowly missing out in the Festival opener.
As regards Mister Coffey, he was set a huge task being nearly last halfway down the backstraight. Nicky Henderson's gelding switched to the stands side in the homestraight and ran on in seventh position but was never given a chance to land a blow. Admittedly, the lightly raced Authorized gelding has been keen in his races and therefore can't be ridden too prominently. However, a strong gallop was always likely here with so many front runners in the line up. He couldn't afford to give the likes of Soaring Glory too much rope. The County Hurdle will presumably be next and it will be interesting to see how he fares. The six year old was only beaten around ten lengths here.
Earlier on the card, both Southfield Harvest and Sizable Sam acquitted themselves well in the staying handicap hurdle finishing third and fifth respectively. The former was hampered by an early faller but held every chance in the home straight. This will hopefully set him up nicely for his main target, the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham next month, while Jeremy Scott's novice produced another career best here. Still learning his trade, it was hoped he would be ridden with a little more restraint but Matt Griffiths appears intent on riding him forcefully regardless of the trip he is racing over. Long-term, he will make a fine chaser for a stable who tasted Grade 1 glory at Ascot on Saturday.
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