Unibet Tolworth Hurdle
|Grade 1, Sandown 14:25
1m 7f 216y, Class 1
1 Tahmuras 5/2
2 L'Astroboy 16/1
3 Nemean Lion 18/1
8 ran Distances: 2½l, 1l, 2¾l
Time: 4m 14.10s (slow by 22.10s)
Supreme or Ballymore next for Tahmuras after winning the @UnibetRacing Tolworth Hurdle @Sandownpark under @CobdenHarry for the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate and @PFNicholls pic.twitter.com/TQpzJyE2Ra https://t.co/yeGWtyACa8 via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) January 9, 2023
Tahmuras travelled supremely well throughout in the two-mile contest for Harry Cobden, who was content to allow Colonel Harry to make the running under Gavin Sheehan.
Though clearly green, he loomed large approaching the last two flights as the disappointing favourite Authorised Speed laboured in the soft ground.
Despite walking through the last two hurdles, Cobden quickly got the six-year-old back on an even keel and the 5-2 second-favourite scored in style by two and a half lengths, giving the champion trainer a first win in the race since Breedsbreeze some 15 years ago.
The Evan Williams-trained L’Astroboy stayed on for second, having the tables turned on him by the winner who had been beaten a neck by that rival in a Ffos Las bumper in February last year, while Nemean Lion stuck on for third, a further length behind.
It was also a stellar afternoon for the owners Noel Fehily Racing Syndicates, who had earlier taken the Listed mares’ hurdle with the Harry Fry-trained Love Envoi.
Fehily said: “He will be in the Supreme and the Ballymore at the Festival and we will speak to Paul about where he goes, but he looks pretty good and reminds me of Summerville Boy on whom I won the Supreme.
“He’s a good staying horse with a bit of quality and I would say Hansard isn’t far behind him. Gary (Moore) loves him and he will be stepped up for his next run.
“This is absolutely massive. We put our hands in our pockets to buy these horses myself and David Crosse and we try to find members for them and when they get a great day out like this it is brilliant for everyone and that is very important.”
Nicholls said: “It was good. It took 15 years, but you have got to have the right sort of horses, haven’t you?
“To be fair, we thought he’d go very close. Scott Marshall, who rides him every day, said it would take a good one to beat him and I’ve got a lot of faith in Scott.”
Nicholls added: “He has just done nothing but improve and he is like Noland and Al Ferof, who both won the Supreme for us – they are both strong and good stayers with good enough boot for two (miles).
“So I guess we will go to the Supreme with him – we’ll so straight there – but he is the mirror of Noland and Al Ferof.
“He is an improving young horse and we will sharpen his jumping on better ground. We are delighted with him.
“It is hard jumping out of that deep ground up that Sandown hill. They all jumped fairly ordinary, but he’s fairly adequate and when we get that better ground in the spring, we will sharpen his jumping up.”
Cobden – bagging this third Grade One in a matter of weeks, after the King George and Challow Hurdle – said: “The only time he ever got beat was in a bumper at Ffos Las, but he’s right up there and cantered all over them today.
“He did struggle for a few strides down the back, but it was very soft back there.
“Paul’s really put his foot on the gas with the horses and this is clearly one of the best (novice) hurdlers in the country.
“I don’t know if he is quite as good as (Challow winner) Hermes Allen yet, but he isn’t far off. I think Hermes Allen would be the best at the moment if you were to put me on the spot to ride one tomorrow. This lad is pretty good.
“You would run him over two and Hermes Allen over two and a half. I’m not sure he would be quite good enough to beat Hermes Allen. They are the sort of horses that surprise you the more you ask the more they give.”
Unibet Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1 Novices' Hurdle)
£70,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 216y, Class 1
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Tahmuras 6 11-8 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 5/2
2 2½ L'Astroboy 6 11-8 Evan Williams Adam Wedge 16/1
3 1 Nemean Lion 6 11-8 Kerry Lee Richard Patrick 18/1
4 2¾ Colonel Harry 6 11-8 Jamie Snowden Gavin Sheehan 20/1
5 26 Authorised Speed 6 11-8 Gary Moore Jamie Moore 5/4F
6 36 Blow Your Wad 5 11-8 Tom Lacey Stan Sheppard 22/1
PU Ukantango 6 11-8 Olly Murphy Aidan Coleman 40/1
PU Arctic Bresil 6 11-8 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 9/2