Architrave Heads to The Open for the JCB Juvenile Hurdle
Architrave is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and trainer Tim Vaughan is looking for win number four when the three-year-old steps out at Cheltenham for the £25,000 Grade Two JCB Juvenile Hurdle (12.45pm) over an extended two miles at The Open on Saturday, November 13.
The Open at Cheltenham stages three thrilling days of top-quality Jump racing on Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14, November, with Saturday’s £150,000 Grade Three BetVictor Gold Cup (2.30pm) the feature event at the prestigious meeting.
Architrave is being specifically aimed at the JCB Juvenile Hurdle, having followed an easy debut success at Stratford in August with comfortable victories at Fontwell on September 5, and Market Rasen 20 days later.
The Hernando-gelding raced on the Flat for trainer Sir Mark Prescott and breeder Cheveley Park Stud before joining Vaughan’s South Wales yard, and has proved to be a natural over hurdles.
Vaughan revealed today: “Architrave is definitely heading to the JCB Juvenile Hurdle at The Open - that has been the target since his win at Market Rasen and it remains the plan of attack. He has done everything right, has improved with every run and is a highly-progressive type.
“We went steady on him after the Market Rasen race with this in mind, and we have upped the work again over the last 10 days. At the moment he’s doing everything right and, God willing, he keeps progressing.
“He has been very natural over hurdles since the first day we started schooling him. He was obviously useful on the Flat, rated in the low 70s, but he seems to have thrown that away and I would like to think that hurdling is more his strength.”
Architrave’s turf starts have all come on good and good to firm going but Vaughan has no fears should rain arrive before The Open and believes the three-year-old will relish Cheltenham’s unique test.
The handler said: “I think he is the type of horse that will relish the hill at Cheltenham. He appears to have plenty of stamina so that should hopefully play into his hands. There is loads of stamina in the pedigree and when he first came here I was thinking he would probably end up wanting two and a half or three miles next year.
“His sire, Hernando, won on soft, so I don’t think he would be inconvenienced by cut in the ground. I can’t categorically confirm that he will handle softer ground but he gives no impression that he wouldn’t and I actually think a bit of cut in the ground will be beneficial for him because it will place more emphasis on stamina.
“With these juveniles, they just have to jump and stay, so I’m hoping the race experience he now has, combined with that stamina, will play into our favour. He should be able to run a big race.
“From where I’m sitting, looking at what else has been out this season, he appears to be in the higher level of juvenile hurdlers, so hopefully he continues to progress and handles the winter ground.”
Saturday’s excellent six-race card, as well as featuring the extended two and a half-mile Paddy Power Gold Cup, includes the £50,000 Grade Three Morson Group Handicap Chase (1.50pm) over an extended three miles and three furlongs.
The Paddy Power Gold cup itself is always a thrilling spectacle and this year’s race could feature the 2009 winner Tranquil Sea from the Edward O’Grady yard, who became the first Irish-trained victor since Bright Highway in 1980.
O’Grady’s charge defeated the Paul Nicholls-trained Poquelin 12 months ago, and that rival went on to clinch the Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup at The International at Cheltenham in December.
The lightly-raced but top-class Noland is another possible runner for Nicholls, while O’Grady could also saddle last season’s Grade One The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy third Osana and Catch Me.
Nicky Henderson may run Grade One scorer Long Run, Grade Two winners Riverside Theatre, Mad Max and Duc De Regniere, while another of note is the David Pipe-trained Great Endeavour, who landed the Grade Three Byrne Group Plate at The Festival from the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Sunnyhillboy. Nigel Twiston-Davies could saddle Little Josh who dead-heated with Weird Al at Carlisle on Sunday.
The Open commences on Friday, November 12, with six enthralling races, among them the £25,000 Grade Two Cheltenham Collection Sharp Novices’ Hurdle (1.50pm), the £40,000 Paddypower.com Handicap Chase (2.25pm), and the £25,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase (3pm) over Cheltenham’s unique cross country course.
The £100,000 Grade Three Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm) headlines a thrilling six-race Sunday card on November 14, alongside the £30,000 Grade Two The Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1.10pm), the £50,000 Sinbad Testimonial 2010/11 Chase (1.45pm) and the £25,000 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (3.30pm).
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