Glynn gallops into Cheltenham picture with Doncaster victory

Impressive debut for well-entered Henderson six-year-old.

  • Friday 24 January
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Nicky Henderson could have another top-class novice hurdle prospect on his hands after Glynn bolted up in the Sporting Life EBF “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle at Doncaster.

A winner of his sole point-to-point start over three miles, the 15-8 shot was easy to back ahead of his rules debut, but sauntered to a faultless 11-length success under Jeremiah McGrath.

McGrath was visibly impressed with the victory and believes the six-year-old could take high rank for the Seven Barrows trainer.

“I hope it looked as good as it felt, because I think he’s above-average,” he said.

“He got a bit lonely in front, but I loved the way he went down to the last. He might be a two-miler, but you never know.

“He’s a six-year-old – not a weak four-year-old – so we can crack on with him and hopefully he has a few big days ahead of him.”

After his success, Glynn was cut to 20-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

Fantastic Ms Fox (5-1) continued her love affair with the South Yorkshire venue when running out an authoritative winner of the Sky Bet Fillies’ Juvenile’ Hurdle.

The four-year-old opened her account at the track in December and took the step up in class in her stride, winning by a length and a half after a fine jump at the last under Leighton Aspell.

Trainer Noel Williams was understandably delighted to land the two-mile feature.

“It was brilliant. She stays really well – that’s her main attribute – and jumps well when it matters,” he said.

“If anything she jumped slightly right today which was unexpected, but I’ll take it! She’s relatively straightforward, loves the game and has taken hurdling in her stride.

“She looks progressive, she’s tough and is a proper racehorse.”

The Oxfordshire handler also highlighted the importance of picking up the Listed contest and hopes his charge will add more black-type races to her CV.

He added: “It’s vital we get that black type and there’s no point running them in these races if you think they’re not good enough to win them.

“It puts value on her and I love training fillies, so hopefully she has more in her. We’ll be sticking to two (miles) for the moment because as these black-type races get tougher you need to be able to stay as well.”

Paul O’Brien used pillar-to-post tactics successfully on the brave Western Miller (16-1) in the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase.

The nine-year-old had been doing his winning over further distances, but jumped for fun under the 3lb claimer to repel the challenge of Croco Bay for trainer Charlie Longsdon.

Longsdon was quick to praise the conditional jockey and now has the Cheltenham Festival on the agenda for his charge.

“Paul gave him a fantastic ride and he really jumped for him. I thought they might go too quick for him and get slightly stuck in the ground,” he said.

“To be honest we always thought of him as a very good summer horse, but you would have to look at entering him at Cheltenham now in the Grand Annual and the Plate – you’d be probably thinking Grand Annual over a strong two-miles as we know he stays further, which is what you want in that.

“Is he good enough? He might well not be, but I’m just delighted he’s won today as he’s been a great horse for the syndicate and might give them a nice big day out at Cheltenham.”

Brian Hughes used the same tactics earlier on the card to extend his lead in the National Hunt jockeys’ championship, after guiding Pogue to victory in the Sky Bet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker Novices’ Handicap Chase.

The seven-year-old had been placed in his four previous starts and the 4-1 favourite made all to hold on by a length and three-quarters for trainer Donald McCain.

Pogue was the first leg of a double for the duo after Gaelik Coast caused a 20-1 upset in the First Race Special On Sky Bet Tomorrow Novices’ Hurdle, which took Hughes to 117 winners for the season – six ahead of the sidelined Richard Johnson.

“I didn’t really plan on being in front, he jumped quite quick over the first four fences,” Hughes said.

“He’s a grand horse we’ve always liked and we’re hoping he can progress now.

“I’m not thinking about the title. It’s day-to-day in this job so I’ll just try to ride as many winners as I can.”

Lucy Alexander timed her power-packed ride to perfection on board Wakool (6-1) in the Enter ITV7 Tonight Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, denying Swilly Sunset by half a length on the line for her father, trainer Nick Alexander.

Glynn gallops into Cheltenham picture with Doncaster victory
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