Described by trainer Gary Moore as “ a bit like the Plumpton Arkle “ the Follow At The Races On Twitter Novices’ Chase at the Sussex venue on Sunday afternoon produced one of the best fields ever assembled at Plumpton, no doubt the result of the sixty thousand pound carrot dangled for any horse who could take the two mile three and a half furlong contest prior to landing a novice chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Moore sent his impressive Newbury scorer Knocknanuss while Gordon Elliott made the long journey from Ireland with his Pertemps Hurdle runner-up Glenloe. Add to that pair Grade 2 winning hurdler Slate House who was making his chasing debut for Gold Cup-winning handler Colin Tizzard and you already have the makings of a race to savour. But with the added ingredient of top French prospect Master Dino you have something unique for a track where the action is usually moderate to say the least.
In the mid-nineties French trainer Guillaume Macaire landed many of the top prizes on offer in Britain but now mainly concentrates on selling young equine talent to the British and Irish.
On a rare visit to Britain nowadays Macaire decided to send the Auteuil dual Grade 1 hurdle winner “ to take advantage of his novice status in Britain “ and on his second start over fences the five-year-old looks to have booked his place in the JLT at Prestbury Park with a convincing seven length win over main market rival Knocknanuss. The 8-1 offered by Coral and Boylesports seems more than generous.
On the same afternoon Gordon Elliott received ample compensation for the defeat of Glenloe when his exciting novice hurdler Battleoverdoyen was cut into a best price 7-1 with William Hill and Betfair Sportsbook for the Ballymore Hurdle after keeping his unbeaten record with a victory in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle in Ireland.
The star on show at Sandown on Saturday afternoon was Willie Mullins’ Champion Hurdle second favourite Laurina who had no more than a schooling session in seeing off sole rival Sensulano. At least we know the mare is fit and well but those bookmakers who cut her price into 7-2 for the big one in March do their profession little credit.
Full replay and report: Laurina cruises to victory on her seasonal debut at @Sandownpark. Watch what Ruby Walsh had to say to @nickluck about her success and Champion Hurdle credentials.👇https://t.co/8e3mfWPDqJ pic.twitter.com/QBNplCmQz1— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 5, 2019
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