JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
2m 110y, Class 1
|Saturday 16th November 2013|
1 Royal Irish Hussar 10/11F
2 Guitar Pete 15/2
3 Azza 7/1
7 ran Distances: 3¾l, 15l, 4½l
TIME 4m 0.27s (slow by 9.27s)
Champion jump trainer Nicky Henderson expressed a degree of surprise after 10/11 favourite Royal Irish Hussar took the opening race, the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial, by three and three-quarter lengths.
He said: “He’s good, isn’t he? I was all doom and gloom, thinking they’d find him out today. It’s a long way from where he started out at Market Rasen.”
The three-year-old son of Galileo was in training with Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle before making the switch to Henderson this autumn. He is owned by Christopher and Bridget Hanbury’s Triermore Stud.
“This was all Aidan’s idea, to send him to England to go jumping,” said Henderson. “He’s very small and doesn’t look much like a jumper, but from day one he’s been a lovely jumper.”
Royal Irish Hussar has now won all three of his starts over hurdles, but only scraped home by a neck on his Market Rasen debut.
“That first day I told Bassy [jockey David Bass] to drop him in behind a couple. That’s not his scene, even at home,” added the trainer.
““He has amazed me today – he has amazed me from the word go – because he is not very big.
“Aidan said he has the right attitude for it. I would have gone for the gelding first but we decided to keep him a colt. He only had three runs on the Flat but he just loves his jumping.
“I thought his first two runs were commendable but this was looking mighty competitive and I thought that we were seriously up against it today. As Minty (David Minton) said, even I have to start believing in him now. I think they think the second is all right and there was a lot of very good French form in behind as well – he loved it today.
“He’s a good ground horse, so it’s quite possible to see him resting for now.”
The Adonis Hurdle at Kempton is a possible target.
The winning rider Barry Geraghty commented: “He learned a lot from Market Rasen and I thought that he would improve from Wetherby, which he did, and I think that he will improve again for this. He hasn’t had a lot of racing, so the penny is only really dropping with him.
“He travels in his races, he jumps well and I think he can get slicker. He was very neat and clever at the last and he is a progressive sort.
“It is good to soft ground out there and it felt beautiful on him. I wouldn’t imagine him wanting soft ground but anything better would be fine.
“I would say that the first two are the best of what’s around so far. He’s going the right way.”
JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
(Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 3yo only, 2m 110y, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
||Royal Irish Hussar
N J Henderson
|B J Geraghty
|10 - 11
D T Hughes
|B J Cooper
|15 - 2
3 3/4 lengths
|7 - 1
A W Carroll
|66 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
|33 - 1
||Herod The Great
|14 - 1
1 1/4 length
P F Nicholls
|D A Jacob
|7 - 2
Jockey Bryan Cooper was pleased with the run of Guitar Pete this afternoon after the 15/2 shot finished the three and three quarter lengths runner-up behind Royal Irish Hussar.
“I thought he’s run a very good race,” said Cooper.
“He’s improved no end since going over hurdles and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with his three runs to date.
“It rode like a very good race so I think our fellow is quite useful. The winner looks a very decent horse though.”
Trainer David Pipe plans to give Azza a break now after the filly finished a further 15 lengths back in third.
“She’s run a good race but she’s had a couple of quick runs now so I think we’ll give her a break in order to strengthen her up,” said Pipe.
“We bought her from Francois Cottin and he told us that she would take time to physically mature so there’s probably more to come from her.
“The handicapper has given her a rating of 135 which seems a little steep and I feel sorry for the other juveniles if they are going to rate them like that.
“We won’t be hard on her this season and hopefully this approach will pay off.”
Pipe was also keen to downplay the chances of his runner Ballynagour in the feature race of the day, the BetVictor Gold Cup.
“I think he’s very short in the market and looks a false price to me,” the trainer revealed.
“He’s a difficult horse to gauge in terms of fitness. I thought he’d need the run first time out and then he hacked up. It’s a very tough race though so I wouldn’t be that confident. He’ll either run well or very badly.”