williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle
|Grade 1, Kempton Park 14:40
2m, Class 1
|Monday 26th December 2016|
1 Yanworth 5/4F
2 The New One 13/8
3 Ch'Tibello 14/1
5 ran Distances: 3¼l, 2¼l, 2¼l
TIME 3m 45.20s (slow by 3.20s)
Yanworth overcame some sloppy jumping to win the 32Red Christmas Hurdle at Kempton to bring up a double for Alan King.
Barry Geraghty was in their slipstream but animated in the saddle aboard Yanworth as they turned into the straight.
Yanworth hit the front running to the last and powered clear of The New One in the closing stages to earn a quote of 6/1 (from 8s) from Sky Bet for the Stan James Champion Hurdle and bring up a double for King who had saddled Elgin to win the opener.
Sky Bet's Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners said: "Connections of Yanworth had been considering the Stayers' Hurdle but he's firmly put his hat in the ring for the two mile contest with this defeat of a rejuvenated The New One.
"This was arguably a career best performance and we've cut him to 6/1 for the Champion Hurdle."
After making a successful reappearance over an intermediate distance in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot last month, Yanworth's connections considered a step up to three miles but instead reverted to two miles for this Grade One event and Geraghty believes that will be his distance.
"It looks like he's a Champion Hurdle horse. You'd imagine Cheltenham being a stiffer track would suit better," he said.
"He battled well. I had to work a little bit before the turn in, but when we straightened up he came alive. He was good and accurate at the last. He's learning a lot from last year and physically, he's a good bit stronger.
"It was a good, solid race. The New One and My Tent went a good gallop and there was no place to hide. He did it well today."
King said: "I'm relieved. I thought today was a bit against us. Kempton is a sharp track and we didn't get the rain I was hoping for in the week. I'm delighted. I thought we were vulnerable today.
"Ascot probably stood him in good stead. He had to battle that day and it helped him.
"My horses were a bit short then and he needed it. He needed a bit of match practice. It was all very well winning last season without coming off the bridle, but horses have to learn. He learnt a lot at Ascot and again today."
He went on: "Barry was right behind the first two so he was in the right place. He's dug in and the further they went the better.
"We weren't sure (about best trip) which is why we stuck him in over two and a half at Ascot. We were going to go up but Unowhatimeanharry came on the scene, so we changed our plan. It's worked very well.
"But for Unowhatimeanharry we were in the Long Walk two weeks ago. It's a big step in the right direction.
"I wouldn't mind if we went straight to Cheltenham. I'll speak to JP (McManus, owner) and Frank (Berry (racing manager). I wouldn't mind that.
"He doesn't take a lot of work. He might have one more race for match practice, I don't know. I'll speak to the team, but I'd be relaxed if we went straight to Cheltenham."
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was pleased with The New One's effort.
He said: "He ran really well. Whether he (My Tent Or Yours) was put in there to harass us, maybe that has made the difference.
"Yanworth was the first off the bridle and his jumping was not great, but they are the winners and we are not."
Dan Skelton was also satisfied with Ch'tibello, who took third spot.
He said: "I am happy with that. He maybe just found real Grade One pace a little hot mid-way, but he has actually stayed on really well and there was a question mark in his locker about his ability to stay.
"He will probably go for the Kingwell Hurdle and he will get an entry in the Champion."
williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle(Grade 1)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Yanworth 5/4f||B J Geraghty
|2nd||3¼||The New One (IRE) 13/8||Sam Twiston-Davies
|N A Twiston-Davies||8|
|3rd||2¼||Ch'tibello (FR) 14/1||Harry Skelton
|4th||2¼||My Tent Or Yours (IRE) 4/1||N D Fehily
|N J Henderson||9|
|5th||92||Gray Wolf River 100/1||Daniel Hiskett
|R C Harper||5|