Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial
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Grade 2, Cheltenham 12:45
£30,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 87y, Class 1  
Sunday 13th November 2016

1 Moon Racer 9/4
2 Mirsaale 14/1
3 Ballyandy 5/4F
NR: Crosshue Boy (IRE)
6 ran Distances: 2¼l, ½l, ½l
TIME 4m 6.60s (slow by 15.60s)

Scudamore gets tactics right on Moon Racer

Moon Racer came out on top of a tactical affair, quickening away well as the field sprinted up the Cheltenham hill to record a two and a quarter length success.

Moon Racer
© Caroline Norris

Moon Racer

The 9/4 second favourite was given a good ride by Tom Scudamore and was always handy, taking up the running as the field turned for home. The sponsors, Sky Bet, trimmed Moon Racer into 7/1 (from 12/1) for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at The Festival.

There was a bit of trouble between 5/4 favourite Ballyandy, Keep In Line and Movewiththetimes as the former came across to the rail shortly before the final hurdle but Moon Racer had every move covered and the David Pipe-trained seven-year-old scampered up the hill to gain the victory.

Scudamore was delighted with the performance following the race and thought that Moon Racer's tactical speed allowed him to be in the position he wanted.

"He's able to take me wherever I want to go," said the jockey.

"From an early stage, he's just jumped and travelled. They've gone an even gallop which suited us but it's one of those things that when you're on the best horse in the race, it makes it that much more straightforward. He'd never run on ground this soft and it was just a case of seeing how he handled it. I thought he would handle it but you never know until you try.

"I was never really in any trouble with him there. He's a Festival winner on good ground but he's torn apart a good field there on soft, giving Ballyandy (third) four pounds. He's just a top-quality horse and one of our flagbearers. As for the future, I'll leave everything up to David (Pipe). He's always done right by the horse. He lets me get on with the riding and I let him get on with the training - it's something that's worked pretty well so far!"

Trainer David Pipe was also pleased with Moon Racer after the race.

"He's not had it easy in his career so far," said the trainer.

"The owners haven't rushed me and they've been very patient. He's not fashionably bred, he's by Saffron Walden, but he's very, very good. I did toy with the idea of running him in last year's Supreme on his first start over hurdles but I'm glad I didn't as he's got a whole novice season in front of him now.

"That would have been throwing him in at the deep end. He's very much one to look forward to. I'm not sure where he'll go now - we might come back here in December if there's a race so we'll have a look and take it from there. I don't think he'll need much more experience - I wouldn't be worried if he headed straight to The Festival from here. He'll have more runs though, as he's seven turning eight so he needs to do some running, and he will if he's fit and well.

"The ground was a little bit unknown to us today. It's the softest he's been on and I wasn't sure with his knee action if he would handle it. It looks like he's handled it today but I think he'll be better on better ground. All roads like to the Supreme but we'll also give him an entry in the Champion Hurdle. Why not? Us Pipes like to have every option covered so you never know."

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Skybet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 87y, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Moon Racer (IRE) 9/4 T Scudamore
11-4
D Pipe 7
2nd Mirsaale 14/1 B P Harding
11-4
K Dalgleish 6
3rd ½ Ballyandy 5/4f Ryan Hatch
11-0
N A Twiston-Davies 5
4th ½ Keep In Line (GER) 5/1 Wayne Hutchinson
11-4
A King 4
5th ½ Movewiththetimes (IRE) 8/1 B J Geraghty
11-4
P F Nicholls 5
6th 21 What About Carlo (FR) 33/1 Aidan Coleman
11-0
Eve Johnson Houghton 5
NR Crosshue Boy (IRE) 66/1 R Johnson
11-7
Sean Doyle 6