Cloudy Dream made a smooth start to his chasing career at Carlisle yesterday with an excellent round of jumping. Last season's Scottish Champion Hurdle runner-up outclassed in his two rivals in a beginners' chase which has been won by the likes of Pendra and Duke of Navan in recent seasons. A three lengths winner from Chidswell, he is likely to contest a novice chase under a penalty next time before stepping up in grade. Malcolm Jefferson has an exciting prospect on his hands.
Indeed, the Malton trainer has really hit top form in recent weeks and was responsible for three winners at the Cumbrian venue. In fact, he has sent out 5 winners at Carlisle this season from only 6 runners (the other one was desperately unlucky not to win win, too). He has been a very good addition to One Jump Ahead. Sadly, Major Ivan has been put down having incurred an injury following his unlucky second at the same track last week. On a happier note, the horse featured on page 31 of OJA is not far off a run and ought to be seen in public within the next two to three weeks.
Alpha Des Obeaux got off the mark over fences at the second attempt when winning the opening beginners' chase at Thurles yesterday. The two mile six event certainly wasn't short of incident but thankfully Mouse Morris' gelding steered clear of the carnage before running out a comfortable one and a half lengths winner. It wasn't an overly impressive display but one thing we can be sure of - his trainer will have one target in mind and he won't peak until Cheltenham in March. The RSA Chase is very much still the target and I will be disappointed if he doesn't have a major say in the outcome of the three mile event next spring.
Switching codes, Higher Power's frustrating season continued with James Fanshawe's gelding being headed close home in the one mile six handicap at Doncaster today. Stepping up in distance, the four year old travelled strongly and looked sure to prevail entering the final couple of furlongs. However, he was collared by the lightly raced Cape Cova, who was ironically ridden by Tom Queally. A neck separated the pair with five lengths back to the third. Higher Power has run well all season but has only won one of eight career starts. Suited by ease in the ground, perhaps he will gain a much deserved victory in the November Handicap at the same track early next month.
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