The juvenile hurdle at Punchestown was arguably the most interesting race of the day on Monday. Hot on the heels of Sir Erec's victory at Leopardstown last Thursday, stablemate Gardens of Babylon made a successful start to his jumping career. The son of Camelot only raced twice on the Flat for Aidan O'Brien before being transferred to his son Joseph's operation. Absent since finishing fourth in a nine furlongs maiden at Leopardstown in mid April, he quickened up smartly on the run-in to prevail by half a length. Given his lack of experience, the J.P.McManus owned gelding is open to plenty of improvement and could easily develop into a Graded performer. The runner-up Surin is an interesting horse for the future, too. Rather like Grand National winner and now stablemate Tiger Roll, she is by Authorized and won a bumper at Market Rasen on his debut in October when handled by Mario Hofer. Bought a month later for £72,000, she was also making her jumping bow and it won't be long before she goes one better for Gordon Elliott.
Talking of promising youngsters, I was working for Racing TV at Haydock on Sunday and was impressed with Mr Grey Sky's victory in the bumper. A course and distance winner earlier this month, the Fame And Glory gelding defied his penalty and stayed on strongly to beat former pointer Highway Companion by a length with the pair ten lengths clear of the third. A striking looking grey with size and scope, he won't be over raced this season according to Kim Bailey. He is very much one for 2019 and beyond.
Didero Vallis (9/2), featured in the Stable Gossip section of One Jump Ahead, made it two out of three since joining Venetia Williams by taking the two and a half miles handicap chase at the Merseyside track. Bought for £46,000, the Poliglote gelding was only three pounds higher than when winning at Carlisle a fortnight earlier. Once again, the five year old produced a fine round of jumping and a likeable attitude as he fended off Gold Opera by nearly two lengths. With time very much on his side and unexposed over fences, he looks a shrewd acquisition.
The Top 40 Prospects have ended 2018 poorly with a string of losers since Boxing Day. However, there is still plenty to look forward to with a host of exciting prospects, some of which, will hopefully go on to win at the major spring Festivals. Thank you to clients and contributors for all your support this year and I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019.
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