Today was billed as Black Friday and, from a personal point of view, that title was fully justified as far as some of today's racing results were concerned. The Email Service selection looked home and hosed jumping the third and second last fences only to be reeled in close home, while Lalor managed to turn victory into defeat in a matters of strides at Ascot on his second run over hurdles. Having felt his rider hadn't shown enough urgency on his jumping bow at Exeter, Tom Scudamore did the opposite this afternoon hitting the front too soon and squandering a golden opportunity. Hopefully, it will be third time lucky.
Noble Robin was featured in the Top 40 Prospects of last year's One Jump Ahead but Jonjo O'Neill's gelding was restricted to one outing finishing fourth on his hurdles debut at Ffos Las in December. However, the six year old returned to the Welsh track this afternoon and showed what he is capable of with a dominant display. Formerly trained by Paul Cashman, for whom he easily won his only Irish point before being bought by J.P.McManus, he handed out a three and a half lengths win in the two and a half miles maiden hurdle from odds on favourite Juge Et Parti. There was no fluke about the performance and, granted testing ground, he could take high rank amongst this season's novice hurdlers. He is a smart prospect.
It looked significant that Noel Fehily elected to head to Catterick for a couple of rides for Neil Mulholland rather than stay closer to home at Ascot. The Irishman's decision was vindicated as he steered another former Irish pointer Espoir De Teillee to facile victory in the two miles three novices' hurdle at the North Yorkshire venue. Making all, the Martaline gelding was given an aggressive ride by Fehily as he built up a healthy advantage halfway down the backstraight. Despite his opponents closing up before the hometurn, the winner soon asserted and cruised to a sixteen lengths win. A slick jumper, the Roger Brookhouse owned gelding looks capable of defying a penalty before his sights are raised.
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