Gumball floors Verdana Blue in Kempton surprise

Henderson mare has to settle for second in Champion Hurdle prep

  • Wednesday 27 February
  • News
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Champion Hurdle contender Verdana Blue suffered a surprise defeat to Gumball in the 32Red Casino Novice Stakes at Kempton Park.

Having his first start on the Flat, the Philip Hobbs-trained Gumball was given an enterprising ride by Oisin Murphy, racing wide of the others in the initial stages, before coming over to lead with a clear advantage.

Luke Morris had settled the Nicky Henderson-trained hotpot in third, but when Gumball (4-1) and Murphy kicked the mare soon found herself with work to do.

Try as she might, the 1-3 favourite could never quite get on terms and was still a length and three-quarters down at the line.

Verdana Blue was was running for the first time since producing a turn up of her own, when lowering the colours of stablemate and dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

The Terry Warner-owned winner holds an entry in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

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