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Supreme Hope Montbazon Unchanged after Plumpton Stroll

Alan King was perfectly satisfied with the winning performance of his very promising novice hurdler Montbazon who did pretty much as the market expected in coasting to victory at Plumpton on January 30 gaining more racecourse experience as he homes in on a bid for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March for which he is generally on offer at 16/1, writes Elliot Slater.

© Racehorse Photos


The 1/10 favourite was expected to meet only token resistance in the two-mile contest and so it proved, the son of Alberto Giacometti always travelling powerfully under Wayne Hutchinson before easing into the lead before the second last then gradually lengthening to pull 15-lengths clear of Victor Leudorum to give hope to supporters that he really could be the next big thing to come out of the King stables. Anyone looking ahead to Betfair Cheltenham 2012 racing will be keeping an eye on his progress.

There is absolutely no doubt that the hugely experienced handler holds the five-year-old in high regard, indeed King described his facile winner in a post-race interview as "a gorgeous horse". But the Plumpon race told us little of just how far Montbazon might go and King is well aware that his horse will need another outing against better opposition to have his charge clued up to tackle one of the most competitive and fiercely fought events of the whole Cheltenham four-day fixture.

Last term Montbazon proved himself amongst the best bumper horses of his generation, losing out by just a length to subsequent Cheltenham Festival Bumper winner Cheltenian at Kempton on his racecourse bow in February before getting off the mark at Doncaster three weeks later in smooth fashion. Bypassing Cheltenham, he then headed to Aintree where punters made him 5/2 favourite in the horse racing betting to win the coveted bumper but in the end he could only finish second of the 20 runners behind Steps To Freedom.

Third in a listed bumper on his first outing of this season, Montbazon then ran a very sound race when runner-up on his hurdling bow at Newbury to subsequent Grade 1 winner Colour Squadron, before losing his maiden tag over timber at Plumpton.

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