Unibet Greatwood Hurdle
|Grade 3 Handicap, Cheltenham 15:00
2m 87y, Class 1
|Sunday 19th November 2017|
Nicky Henderson's Jenkins has always had a big reputation and was the early ante-post favourite for last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle after a win at Newbury.
He was subsequently well beaten at Kempton and suffered a setback which ruled him out of Cheltenham before he returned to win a novice event at Ffos Las in April.
"He was still awful that day he beat Bags Groove (at Newbury). He had been awful the whole way through. He couldn't jump a hurdle at home. He didn't jump one at Newbury and he sort of got away with it," said Henderson.
"He came to Kempton and was terrible, then he won at Ffos Las in the most appalling race you would see in your life and somehow he ended up rated 137.
"Where in the world he (the handicapper) got that from, I don't know. He is handicapped on his reputation from bumpers - it is nothing to do with what he achieved over hurdles.
"We will see because for some extraordinary reason he is a completely different horse this season - he wants to jump and wants to work. We start here as he has got to start somewhere."
"Old Guard was running round last year in all those good races and was not quite good enough," said Nicholls.
"He had a wind operation over the summer. He ran very well at Chepstow on his comeback, then he won at Kempton quite nicely, so he is back in form and not without a chance.
"A fast-run race will suit Amour De Nuit. He has been gaining valuable experience in novice hurdles and at 25-1 he is a big price."
Nicholls' former assistant Dan Skelton says he has left nothing to chance with his lightly-weighted runner Mohaayed.
"He will run off 10st and it is an unusual weight for a horse of that calibre to be running off. Normally they are running off a lot more," said Skelton.
"It changes the complexion of the race. Whatever weight he has got, he is primed. I'm not going to come out of the race and say he will improve. He isn't going to improve. It is a £100,000 handicap so they should be ready."
John Quinn runs Project Bluebook, winner of a Grade Two at Fairyhouse in April.
"When four-year-olds are out of their novice year, it is definitely harder for them, but he progressed last season and I hope there is more to come from him," said Quinn.
"He is very versatile ground-wise. Not many horses want it too testing and a bit of nice jumping ground - good to soft or soft - would be ideal."
"He is fresh and well, and the Greatwood was our primary pre-Christmas objective. It would have been nice to have a run beforehand but it wasn't to be," said Mullins.
"We bought the horse from John Ferguson last year, who was very open about his injury, so we spent last season nursing him back quietly, starting off small and building him up.
"We gave him a little break after that before taking him to Newbury in March, where he was second to a well-handicapped horse, and then he won at Aintree and Ayr."
Harry Fry has his string in great heart and he saddles Misterton.
"He is a young horse going in the right direction. We know he stays further and Noel (Fehily) gave him a positive ride over two miles at Chepstow," said Fry.
"A strongly-run race on Sunday will suit and his stamina will come in up the hill. Hopefully there is plenty of progress to be had yet."
Tigris River won the Galway Hurdle for Joseph O'Brien, who recently showcased his talents on the Flat by winning the Melbourne Cup.
"He's had a break since winning the Galway Hurdle and it was always going to be the plan to bring him back for something like this," he told At The Races.
"It will probably be tough for him off his mark, but he's already won a good pot.
"It will be interesting to see how he goes. He'll probably have to be a 160-rated horse to win, so it's a big step up for him."
Unibet Greatwood Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 87y
Going: Good to Soft
|1||215 34-1||The New One (IRE) 29||11-12||R Johnson||N A Twiston-Davies||9|
|2||334 336-||Ivanovich Gorbatov (IRE) 247||11-0 t||Aidan Coleman||Joseph P O'Brien||5|
|3||4/45-711||Tigris River (IRE) 108||10-13 t||B J Geraghty||Joseph P O'Brien||6|
|4||774 7-71||Old Guard 28||10-12||Bryony Frost (5)||P F Nicholls||6|
|5||F/80 211-||Chesterfield (IRE) 211||10-11||Daniel Sansom (7)||J W Mullins||7|
|6||122 7-41||Elgin 15||10-8||Wayne Hutchinson||A King||5|
|7||113 41-6||Project Bluebook (FR) 94||10-6||B Hughes||J J Quinn||4|
|8||614 14-3||Flying Tiger (IRE) 8||10-4||Nick Williams||4|
|9||2F1 7-81||London Prize 8 (ex5)||10-2 p||T J O'Brien||Ian Williams||6|
|10||21-2 121||Amour de Nuit (IRE) 28||10-1||Harry Cobden||P F Nicholls||5|
|11||1/21 41-||Jenkins (IRE) 217||10-0||David Bass||N J Henderson||5|
|12||241 73-1||Mohaayed 191||10-0 t||Harry Skelton||D Skelton||5|
|13||213 113-||Nietzsche 42||10-0 h||James Bowen (7)||B Ellison||4|
|14||11P 21-1||Misterton 35||10-0||T Scudamore||H Fry||6|
|15||211 261||Top Othe Ra (IRE) 15||10-0||T Mullins||9|
|16||0/81 07-6||William H Bonney 190||10-0||Mitchell Bastyan (5)||A King||6|