Challow Novices’ Hurdle: Hermes Allen Destroys Rivals At Newbury To Go 7/2 Favourite For Ballymore At Cheltenham
Hermes Allen was a very easy winner of the Coral Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, to give Paul Nicholls a third successive victory in the Grade One feature.
Following on from Bravemansgame and Stage Star, Hermes Allen had to prove he could handle deep ground on this occasion.
On paper at least, this year’s renewal looked as strong as any in recent memory – but Hermes Allen – who is co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson – proved in a different league to all of his rivals.
Dan Skelton’s Vicki Vale tried to stretch the field and turning for home it looked as if she may have slipped them.
But a confident Harry Cobden stuck to the inside and as soon as Vicki Vale began to tire, Hermes Allen (11/10 favourite) was quickly left in the lead.
You Wear It Well fared best of the remainder with Jamie Snowden’s mare plugging on for second, but Cobden did not have to move a muscle on the impressive scorer.
He is now as short as 3/1 favourite for the Ballymore at Cheltenham with Coral.
Nicholls, winning the race for a fifth time in all – including with Denman in 2006 – said: “I’m obviously thrilled with that.
“I was worried about the ground and the lads asked me what I wanted to do and I just said we didn’t know that he didn’t go on it so we had to kick on. As Harry said afterwards good horses go on any ground, he’s now won on quick ground and that ground.
“He’s not slow. He had been slow at home, but he’s waking up mentally and physically. He’s got it all really, he’s got everything you want in a good horse.
“I suspect we’ll go straight to Cheltenham now. There’s no real need to run him again, but the only option is the trial race in a month and then you have a nice gap until the Festival or you just go straight there. We’ll all have a chat.
“I don’t want to go to the well too often as he’ll have had a hard race on that ground today.”
Grumpy Charley lifts Honour’s spirits in Mandarin
Grumpy Charley proved stamina is well and truly his forte with a doughty success in the Coral Racing Club Mandarin Handicap Chase.
Trained by Chris Honour, the grey had won on the same card 12 months previously. Upped in grade after that, he came up short against the likes of Bravemansgame, Corach Rambler and Sam Brown meaning he was running off a mark 2lb lower than last year.
That did not look like being enough, however, as Laskalin and Shanty Alley went clear approaching the second-last.
Bryan Carver was not about to give in, though, and Grumpy Charley began to gain with every stride and hit the front on landing after the last.
Shanty Alley tried in vain to get back on terms but he went down by three-quarters of a length to the 15/2 winner.
Jupiter a world apart as Jet Powered disappoints
Jet Powered was beaten at prohibitive odds – but there appeared to be no fluke about the 66/1 success of Gary Moore’s Jupiter Du Gite.
Nicky Henderson’s Jet Powered was sent off the 2/7 favourite having been hugely impressive on his first outing and was prominent in the ante-post betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Everything appeared to be going according to plan for Nico de Boinville’s mount in the Coral Racing Club Join For Free ‘Introductory’ Hurdle as he tracked Jupiter Du Gite, Moore’s apparent second string behind Inneston, through the first mile and a half.
But when they turned into the straight and Niall Houlihan injected further pace from the front, Jet Powered was soon floundering on rain-softened ground and by the third-last he was making no impression.
In contrast, Jupiter Du Gite galloped on relentlessly, winning by 15 lengths from Klitschko, who stayed on from the rear to claim second ahead of Inneston.
The winner was introduced into Betfair’s market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 16/1, with the same firm trimming Marine Nationale into 11/2 from 8/1. Favourite Facile Vega hardened into 8/11 from evens.
When the mud is flying, so are Venetia Williams’ horses. That is an adage that invariably holds true and the King’s Caple handler recorded winner number 17 for the season when Gamaret made a winning seasonal and chasing bow.
Charlie Deutsch gave the Coastal Path gelding a polished ride and the 5/2 favourite went on to take the Coral First For Horse Racing Handicap Chase by two and a quarter lengths from Gallic Geordie, having jumped well throughout.
Gamaret, owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, took a Fontwell maiden hurdle in February and was having his first run since.
Owner Andrew John is relatively new to racing, having sold his pump business in Port Talbot 18 months ago.
Midnight Ginger (8/1) has certainly kept his enthusiasm flowing, registering her fifth career success for trainer Andrew Martin, gamely fending off Lime Drop to score by a length and three-quarters under 7lb claimer James Martin in the two-and-a-half-mile mares’ handicap hurdle.
Blenkinsop is becoming a force to be reckoned with over hurdles, registering a fourth successive victory for trainer Henry Daly in powering to an easy success in the extended two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
The progressive son of Westerner recorded a hat-trick with plenty to spare at Exeter a month ago and the 100/30 chance duly repeated the trick under Tom O’Brien.