Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 13:00
2m 87y, Class 1
|Sunday 15th November 2015|
1 Altior 2/1F
2 Maputo 5/2
3 Simon Squirrel 6/1
NR: Mister Miyagi (IRE)
5 ran Distances: ½l, 5l, 9l
TIME 4m 7.50s (slow by 16.50s)
Altior wins the opener at Cheltenham under Nico de Boinville. Back-to-back wins for Nicky Henderson in the race
Trainer Nicky Henderson was delighted with the performance of Altior after the 2/1 favourite battled well up the hill to get the better of Maputo by half a length.
The five-year-old was keen in the early stages but eventually settled nicely and travelled kindly under jockey Nico De Boinville despite being hindered on a number of occasions by Drumlee Sunset, who was running loose after unshipping Richard Johnson just after the start.
Altior jumped the last in front but had to dig deep to repel the challenge of Maputo, who finished lame following the race and was taken by vets to the treatment centre at the racecourse stable.
Henderson revealed after the race that he won't be in a rush to run the winner again and Altior may have a break now until early next year.
"He's a baby really," said the trainer.
"He's by High Chaparral who is a very good sire. He's been progressing all the time. To be fair, I know the loose horse was messing everyone around in the end but he was actually helping us a bit as he was giving us a lead.
"He may just have got a bit lonely otherwise as John's (Ferguson - trainer of Maputo) horse was sitting on our tail all the way. He battled well though. I think Ascot taught him a lot actually. He made a mistake at the last and just got headed at the last but as soon as Nico gave him a flick he was off and gone that day.
"He might be shaping like a horse who might stay a bit further in time but we'll remain at this trip for the time being although I'm not sure how much more we'll be doing in the near future.
"He's had three runs now and he was only running in bumpers last year. So far, it's been a good start. I don't know - we'll see how he comes out of this. He's got a big future so there's no big rush. I think those were two high class horse.
"I think the more time he has, the better it will be for him. He was very keen at Ascot and we had ear plugs and ring bits on that day. He's settled much better today though.
"We were all expecting Philip's horse (Drumlee Sunset) to make the running and I hope he's ok and Dickie (Johnson) is ok."
Sponsors SkyBet have refunded all bets on Drumlee Sunset. Trainer Philip Hobbs reported the horse to be none the worse for his fall shortly after the start.
Sadly the same cannot be said for Maputo, who suffered a career ending tendon injury. John Ferguson very much hopes he can recover to be a riding horse.
Skybet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2)
£30,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 87y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
|1st||Altior (IRE) 2/1f||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson||5|
|2nd||½||Maputo 5/2||Aidan Coleman
|J P Ferguson||5|
|3rd||5||Simon Squirrel (IRE) 6/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|
|4th||9||Viens Chercher (IRE) 12/1||Danny Cook
|F||Drumlee Sunset (IRE) 11/4||R Johnson
|P J Hobbs||5|
|NR||Mister Miyagi (IRE) 11/2||Harry Skelton