Another Newbury meeting provided easy pickings for Nicky Henderson with the exciting Josses Hill featuring among a 10-1 treble for the champion trainer and Barry Geraghty.
Quality does not come cheap in National Hunt racing, and Alan Spence’s £100,000 bought him a classic-looking chasing type who was beaten 22 lengths into second by Faugheen on his debut in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival.
Faugheen is presently tearing his way through the Irish novice scene for Willie Mullins, and Josses Hill did exactly the same at Ascot last month before being sent jumping in the Tony Jones 60th Birthday Bash Maiden Hurdle. The even-money favourite gave his hurdles plenty of air, but Geraghty did not need to work too hard to win readily by three lengths. “He’s a gorgeous horse, but just a baby,” said Henderson.
“He jumps his hurdles like fences. We’ll mind him this season before he goes over fences next year.”
Sky Bet introduced him at 33-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as well as the Neptune.
Hadrian’s Approach (9-4) was in need of a small-field confidence-booster after losing his rider early in the Hennessy Gold Cup on the same course 18 days earlier, which Geraghty won on stablemate Triolo D’Alene. Although always dogged by jumping issues, he was foot-perfect in the Coolmation Graduation Chase to beat another Hennessy non-completer, Super Duty, by a length and a quarter. Triumph Hurdle quotes quickly arrived after Dawalan (4-6 favourite) built on his debut fourth in a hot event at the Hennessy meeting by coming eight lengths clear in the Blackmore Building Juvenile Hurdle.
At Lingfield meanwhile, Tarooq showed a neat turn of foot to produce a record-breaking performance in the rearranged Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap. The £45,000 sprint was saved over from last week after the meeting was lost to fog, and a good field was assembled including two Stewards’ Cup winners in Hawkeyethenoo and Hoof It.
Having just his second run for David Barron, Tarooq got a dream run up the rail after the pace-setting Addictive Dream drifted off slightly. Tarooq shot clear, but when Lancelot Du Lac began to close it looked inevitable that he would catch Graham Gibbons in front, only for the 7-1 chance to find more and eventually run out a cosy one-and-a-half-length winner from the fast-finishing Scottish raider Hawkeyethenoo. Lancelot Du Lac was another neck back in third. The first six home all broke the track record which was recently by Valbchek