Regular readers of One Jump Ahead will be aware that I am a big fan of Tom Lacey. The Herefordshire based trainer, who runs Thomas Patrick in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday, has another promising youngster on his hands in the shape of Kateson who made it two out of two over hurdles at the Berkshire track on Friday. A smart bumper performer last season, who was runner-up in Graded company at Aintree last spring, the well bred grey scored by three and a half lengths on his hurdles debut at Chepstow earlier this month and followed up here under a penalty. Despite an awkward looking head carriage, the five year old ran on strongly to win by a length and three quarters and set up a tilt at the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle over the same course and distance at the end of next month.
Despite being beaten over seventeen lengths in fourth, I thought there was plenty of promise shown by French recruit Eclair D'Ainay. Featured in the November Update, the four year old had finished runner-up on his hurdles debut at Auteuil in March before being bought by John Hales. Having his first start for Dan Skelton, the Network gelding jumped and travelled like a high quality horse until tiring from the second last onwards. It is possible he needed the run following an absence of 265 days but I would inclined to drop him back to the minimum trip next time. He possesses the cruising speed to cope with shorter trips. He is very much a horse to keep an eye on.
The opening day of the Winter Carnival at Newbury wasn't one of Nicky Henderson's best with defeats for Kupatana, Morning Vicar and Dragon D'Estruval and it was compounded by the news that smart novice chaser Claimantakinforgan is likely to miss the remainder of the season. Beaten eleven lengths by Lalor at Cheltenham earlier this month, he has only raced twice over fences and will hopefully be back next season.
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