Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
Neptune Investment Management
Chetenham, (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle), £30,000 added, 4yo plus,
2m 5f, Class 1
Friday 14th November 2014

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The Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle goes to Parlour Games. Will we see him victorious at the Cheltenham Festival in March?

1 Parlour Games 10/1
2 Blaklion 13/8F
3 Port Melon 11/4
NR: Upsanddowns (IRE)
6 ran Distances: 4½l, 2¼l, 4½l
TIME 5m 29.50s (slow by 32.50s)

Parlour Games
© Racehorse Photos
Parlour Games

A trial for the Cheltenham Festival was probably not what Sheikh Mohammed had envisaged when he sent his mare Petrushka, winner of the Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille, to the top-class Flat sire Monsun.

But though the result, Parlour Games, was smart enough on the Flat, winner of one of the Ebor meeting's classy handicaps, the Melrose Stakes, he owned none of the Group One talent of his parents, and a transfer to the Sheikh's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson's jumping team was the result.

Parlour Games has now won three of his six starts over hurdles, with today's success the most impressive. The six-year-old, a 10/1 shot, took the Grade Two contest by four and a half lengths from previous Grade Two winner Blaklion.

"He's the best-bred horse I've ever ridden," said Barry Geraghty, "and he was very professional, very slick to travel and jump. The experience he's had racing in handicaps counts for a lot. He's more like a jumper than a Flat horse to ride, a lovely physical with lots in front of you.

"He did this easily, but you make them look ordinary only when you're on something very decent. And his sire Monsun is the coming force in jump racing. He could be like Sadler's Wells has been on the Flat."

Ferguson, who trains his jumpers near Newmarket, paid tribute to his staff at home. "They've done a great job with him," he said. "He's been keen enough, but the lads at home have settled him down and it's been the making of him. We put the hood on him today to keep him chilled.

"With these Flat horses, their zest for life is what we look for. Size doesn't really matter, it's the racing heart to enjoy life that's important. Two miles five furlongs round here in the winter - you've got to want to do it."

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Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was a little disappointed with the way the race was run after the 6/4 favourite Blaklion could only finish second behind the four and a half length winner Parlour Games this afternoon.

The five-year-old was still in front jumping the last but was a sitting duck for the flat speed of the winner, who stayed on strongly to land the spoils.

"I'm not disappointed with the horse but I am disappointed with the way the race was run," said Twiston-Davies.

"They only went a canter for the majority of the race and we've just been outpointed by a quicker flat horse."

This view was echoed by Paul Nicholls, trainer of Port Melon, who finished a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.

"They've only gone a crawl which wouldn't have suited ours," said Nicholls.

"He needs more of a test."

Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 5f, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse / Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Parlour Games 10/1
B J Geraghty
11-4 J P Ferguson 6
2nd Blaklion 13/8f
J E Moore
11-7 N A Twiston-Davies 5
3rd Port Melon (IRE) 11/4
S Twiston-Davies
11-0 P F Nicholls 6
4th Champagne Present (IRE) 9/2
R Walsh
11-0 Jonjo O'Neill 4
5th 1 Minella Present (IRE) 9/2
R Johnson
11-4 N P Mulholland 5
6th 14 Fruits Of Molly (IRE) 66/1
A E Lynch
11-7 P J Gilligan 5
NR Upsanddowns (IRE)
Paul Moloney
11-4 Evan Williams 6