JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 15:35
2m 110y, Class 1
|Saturday 15th November 2014|
1 Golden Doyen 13/8F
2 Hargam 15/8
3 Baraka De Thaix 7/1
9 ran Distances: ¾l, 1¼l, 5l
TIME 4m 10.90s (slow by 19.90s)
The 13/8 favourite looked to be coming off second best as the pair battled up the hill but Richard Johnson persuaded his mount to produce one last effort as the winning post loomed large and he responded well to get his head in front where it mattered.
Trainer Philip Hobbs was delighted after the race and was full of praise for the battle hardened three-year-old.
"He's very tough and he does keep going doesn't he?" said the trainer.
"His jumping has always been very good though he did miss one down the back straight badly which set him back a bit. We bought him as a two-year-old, had him cut and he hasn't stopped improving since.
"Going to the second last, I turned to one of the owners and said that I thought that Barry (Geraghty, jockey of Hargam)'s horse was going rather well but he's battled back strongly.
"He stays very, very well. I suppose because of that, soft ground would suit him a bit better but I don't think good ground would inconvenience him.
"The Triumph Hurdle back at The Festival would have to be the plan now. He's the best juvenile I've got and probably the best that's been out so far this season, though it is early days."
Johnson was also full of praise for the three-year-old's battling qualities after the race.
"He's very good and very tough," said the jockey.
"Philip bought him as a two-year-old and he'd already had a couple of runs in France. His experience has stood him in good stead and he kept finding extra. As soon as Barry got alongside me, he wanted to stick his head out again and win.
"He handled the ground fine but I'm sure good ground will be fine too. He could be a Triumph horse as he stays well and jumps well."
Hargam and Baraka De Thaix, second and thirdl, both pleased their connections with their hurdling debuts. The pair both started their careers in France - Flat-bred Hargam, by Sinndar, with a win and two places from his three runs for Alain Royer-Dupre and jump-bred Baraka De Thaix, by Dom Alco, with a win and two places in three bumper outings for Guy Cherel.
Hargam, who is now with Nicky Henderson and races in J P McManus's colours, led on the run-in before Golden Doyen rallied and prevailed close home. "He's been gelded and spent the summer at Martinstown [McManus's Irish estate]," said Henderson of the grey three-year-old, "and he'll certainly come on and learn from this. He's jumped well and travelled well, and done nothing much wrong."
Baraka De Thaix is trained by David Pipe, who also supplied fourth-placed Unanimite. "We threw Baraka in rather at the deep end," he said, "but he's done really well. He's a very nice juvenile prospect, but being by Dom Alco we hope he's one for the future. The other horse has run well too, under his penalty."
JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
(Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 3yo only, 2m 110y, Class 1
|Dist||Horse / Jockey||Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Golden Doyen (GER) 13/8f
|11-2||P J Hobbs||3|
|2nd||¾||Hargam (FR) 15/8
B J Geraghty
|10-12||N J Henderson||3|
|3rd||1¼||Baraka De Thaix (FR) 7/1
|4th||5||Unanimite (FR) 11/1
D A Jacob
|5th||s.h||L'aigle Royal (GER) 10/1
N D Fehily
|11-6||J J Quinn||3|
|6th||25||Magic Magnolia (IRE) 50/1
|7th||4½||Eminent Poet 25/1
|10-12||Miss V Williams||3|
R T Dunne
|10-12||Mrs L J Young||3|
|PU||Glasgow Central 33/1
|10-12||N A Twiston-Davies||3|