Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial
Grade 2, Cheltenham 13:35
£30,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 110y, Class 1
Sunday 16th November 2014

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1 Vyta Du Roc 3/1
2 Emerging Talent 11/10F
3 Pyromaniac 20/1
NR: Future Security (IRE)
6 ran Distances: nk, 13l, 1¼l
TIME 4m 4.60s (slow by 13.60s)

Vyta Du Roc wins the SkyBet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial under Barry Geraghty, a first win at this three-day meeting for Nicky Henderson

Vyta Du Roc
© Racehorse Photos
Vyta Du Roc

Testing ground at Cheltenham hardly produces Formula One speed, but in the case of Vyta Du Roc there were a couple of what his trainer Nicky Henderson described as 'pit stops' after the Barry Geraghty five-year-old came from a highly unpromising position at the top of the hill to a neck victory.

"As the field quickened, he just couldn't go with them," he said. "It was sensible riding by Barry; he gave him time to take a blow or two. He took on new petrol, fresh tyres, pit stops like in a Grand Prix."

Vyta Du Roc, a 3/1 shot, tackled the 11/10 favourite Emerging Talent up the hill and prevailed by a neck. "Some of mine haven't been quite seeing it out," added Henderson, "and I thought for one moment this was going to be another. But his hurdling helped him enormously, he's very slick in the air."

The grey five-year-old was absent for more than a year after joining Henderson from his native France, eventually appearing to win two small races at Uttoxeter and Hexham in May and June.

"He had a few niggles and though he was ready to go in early spring we left him until after the novices' cut off date. After that we could either run him in handicaps, or as a good horse.

"The ground today was a bit of a concern - though he has form on soft ground at Auteuil, he moves very well. He's a chaser in the making but I think he'll do well over hurdles."

Geraghty was impressed with his mount's effort. "I had to let him be as they quickened," he said, "as he couldn't go with them. He's still a big weak horse but that was a fair performance.

"Whether he's sharp enough for two miles at the top level is difficult to assess in that ground, there's hardly a blade of grass out there. But I think he showed today we shouldn't be afraid of going two and a half."

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Trainer Paul Nicholls was happy with the performance of Emerging Talent, who was beaten a neck by Vyta Du Roc this afternoon.

The 11/10 favourite had to cut out the running for the majority of the race and jumped well in the whole, though a mistake at the second last when still in front stopped him in his tracks momentarily.

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies managed to get him back on a even keel but, although the pair jumped the last in front, they were a sitting duck to the challenge of the eventual winner who stayed on strongly to land the hat-trick.

"I'm pleased with that performance as he's run a bit green and is still a big baby really," said Nicholls.

"He's jumped well in the main but the mistake at the second last has stopped him a bit. I've not been able to school him as much on grass as I'd have liked because of the weather and he just needs a bit more experience really."

"He's got a lot of speed though and I think he'll be nice in time. A strongly run two miles is what he wants at the moment. We had to make the running as there was always going to be no pace on so, if we'd have dropped him out, we wouldn't have won anyway as he's just a galloper. He should make some chaser though."

Tony Martin, trainer of Pyromaniac who finished a further 13 lengths back in third, was also happy enough with the way his gelding ran.

"Look, I've got to be happy with that," said Martin.

"He's still only a four-year-old and the ground was probably a little too soft for him. I like him though and he'll be even better with another year on his back."

Skybet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 110y, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Soft, Heavy in places

  Dist Horse / Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Vyta Du Roc (FR) 3/1
B J Geraghty
11-7 N J Henderson 5
2nd nk Emerging Talent (IRE) 11/10f
S Twiston-Davies
11-0 P F Nicholls 5
3rd 13 Pyromaniac (IRE) 20/1
D F O'Regan
11-7 A J Martin 4
4th The Govaness 9/1
P J Brennan
10-7 F M O'Brien 5
5th 10 Commissioned (IRE) 4/1
N D Fehily
11-7 J P Ferguson 4
6th 17 Foxtail Hill (IRE) 20/1
J E Moore
11-0 N A Twiston-Davies 5
NR Future Security (IRE)
Paul Moloney
11-0 A Middleton 5

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