While Third Intention captured the feature event, the Old Roan Chase, at Aintree there is no doubt the star turn of the day was Robin Roe in the opening maiden hurdle. A Top 40 entry in One Jump Ahead, Dan Skelton's former Irish pointer produced a tremendous display to emphatically beat the well supported No Comment by a dozen lengths. Given a confident ride, his jumping was electric and he toyed with his market rival from the second last. The Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year's Eve is reportedly next on his agenda and if he doesn't develop into a leading contender for the Neptune Investments NH in March, I am a dutchman. He is a class act and could provide his trainer with his first Grade 1 winner at the end of the year.
Stablemate Born Survivor ran well in the two and a half miles handicap hurdle. Beaten five lengths by Irish raider and outsider Massini's Trap, he wouldn't have been aided by the fact the two hurdles in the homestraight were missed out on both circuits due to the low sun. The five year old was staying on again at the death and will benefit from a stiffer test of stamina this term. Indeed, he remains a prime candidate for the Fixed brush hurdle at Haydock next month.
The Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead has made a decent start with Alpha Des Obeaux, Cloudy Dream and Robin Roe looking potentially top notch novices. If you still haven't ordered a copy, please head to the Publications section of the site because there aren't many left.
I spoke to Ben Pauling in the car park before racing and he was telling me the horse featured on page 30 of OJA will run in a bumper at Sandown on Saturday 5th November. He also told me stable star Barter's Hill is in terrific form at home - in fact, he said he has never been better. However, he fears the ground will be too quick at Bangor on Tuesday for the six year old to make his chase debut. Ben was thinking of calling in at the Welsh track on his way home.
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