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High-class hurdler Yanworth made a more than satisfactory start to his chasing career at Exeter with a hard held two lengths victory. Alan King's charge jumped big on occasions but demonstrated a good technique and wasn't hard pressed to score under Barry Geraghty. The runner-up Sternrubin, who was rated twenty pounds inferior to the winner over hurdles, offered a stern enough test even though he had a tendency to jump to his right throughout. However, while he held every chance at the final fence, Yanworth had too much class for Philip Hobbs' rival and was value for more than the winning margin. One suspects Alan King will keep the Norse Dancer gelding to shorter trips for the time being but I will be surprised if the Arkle Trophy proves to be his ultimate target next spring. Don't forget he rounded off his hurdling career with a win over three miles at Aintree in April.
It was frustrating to see Lalor finish a close second in the two miles one novices' hurdle at the West Country track. Beaten a short head by Harry Fry's Irish point recruit Onefortheroadtom, the runner-up would have preferred a stronger early gallop and was closing fast at the finish. Despite this reversal, Richard Woollacott's stable star remains a very promising youngster. His jumping was excellent and he will also benefit from stepping up in trip as the season goes on. I would also suggest keeping an eye on the fifth, Lord Duveen. Trained by Philip Hobbs, he is a half-brother to former and current stablemates Balthazar King and For Good Measure. Only beaten around seven lengths, the four year old was making his racecourse debut and it was a most encouraging start.
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