Nicky Henderson has a fine record in the opening two miles maiden hurdle at Newbury and the head of Seven Barrows enhanced his already impressive tally when sending out Son of Camas to win by a length. The four year old had disappointed on his debut in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival last spring but showed what he is capable of when scoring on his reappearance in a similar event at the Berkshire track this month. Sent hurdling, he jumped well and beat some highly regarded opponents. The Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown early next in the New Year was mentioned as his next likely target. Owner Jared Sullivan, who won this maiden hurdle with subsequent dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air, has another exciting prospect on his hands.
Talking of exciting prospects, Venetia Williams may have just that in French recruit Fanion D'Estruval who scored on his UK debut in the two miles handicap chase. Featured in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead, the four year old raced off a mark of 137 and made a mockery of such a rating. Quick and low over his fences, he was always going well under Charlie Deutsch and, having breezed to the front after the fourth last, the Enrique gelding never looked like relinquishing his advantage. Still a novice over fences, one would expect him to be contesting a Graded contest next time out and it is not unrealistic to suggest he can develop into a leading player for the Arkle Trophy. Twice a winner over fences for Guillaume Macaire in France, he is unbeaten over the larger obstacles and, given his age, Fanion D'Estruval is hopefully a horse with a big future. A big thank you to James Reveley who recommended I include him in OJA.
Champ maintained his unbeaten record over fences with victory in the Grade 2 novice, although he gave his connections and supporters a few scares along the way. Hampered early on by a loose horse, he made a bad mistake at the third last and then Barry Geraghty was forced to take evasive action to avoid running through the rail on the run-in. Despite that, he still managed to beat Black Op which marks it down as a very good performance. Nicky Henderson's charge has clearly got a huge amount of ability and will be even better back over three miles. I thought Deyrann De Carjac ran very well in third. Alan King's gelding, who had previously won over fences at Cartmel and Huntingdon, travelled strongly and jumped accurately. Weakening after the last, he possesses a high cruising speed and will be suited by a drop back to two miles. There is a big prize in him.
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