Nicky Henderson maintained his stranglehold on the two miles maiden hurdle on the opening day of Newbury's Winter Carnival. The Seven Barrows outfit have won the event five times in the last eight years as expensive purchase Jonbon made an excellent start to his hurdles career with a six lengths victory. With no one keen to lead during the early stages, the former Irish pointer jumped his way to the front down the backstraight and never looked in the slighest danger thereafter. His hurdling was slick and accurate and he readily pulled away after the second last to beat the decent bumper performer Good Risk At All without Aidan Coleman getting too serious on his mount. Ante-post favourite for the Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, something like the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle at Ascot (17th December) could be on his agenda. Alternatively, the Grade 1 Tolworth Novice Hurdle at Sandown early in the New Year would be another option. A full-brother to the eight times Grade 1 winner Douvan, he looks a most exciting prospect and it would be no surprise to see him emulate his older sibling by winning the Festival opener in March.
The J.P.McManus owned gelding is featured in the Top 40 Prospects and it proved a good day overall for followers of One Jump Ahead at the Berkshire track. Other winners included Stage Star (2/7), Nassalam (2/1) and Thomas Darby (7/1).
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