Lavelle has many positives to take from Doc Penfro effort at Cheltenham

Only The Big Breakaway proved too good on chasing bow.

  • Friday 20 November
  • News
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Emma Lavelle saw the potential in novice chaser Doc Penfro despite defeat on his steeplechase debut.

The eight-year-old finished second on his first venture over fences at Cheltenham on Sunday, coming home 10 lengths behind the highly impressive Colin Tizzard-trained The Big Breakaway.

Lavelle was heartened by the performance and reports him well at home after his exertions.

“He’s great. He’s back cantering and sound, which is always a key thing with him – that his knees are OK,” she said.

“He’s absolutely fine and we’re really happy with him.”

The Marlborough-based trainer felt a stiffer pace would have been beneficial for the horse, as his stamina would then have come to the fore in the latter stages of the race.

“Probably in the same way as The Big Breakaway, he’s a genuine three-miler and he probably could have done with everything happening a bit faster for him, so it wasn’t so much about speed at the end of the race,” she said.

“He just travelled almost a bit too strongly through the early parts but I think, going forward, he has the potential to be a genuinely decent stayer.”

Whilst there are no immediate dates in the diary at present, Lavelle will search for soft ground as she plans Doc Penfro’s novice chasing campaign.

“We have no plans at the minute, there’s lot of choices. I think he’ll go run in a novice chase somewhere else, he definitely wants proper soft ground, I think he definitely needs that.”

Lavelle is also considering where to send Shantou gelding Hoi Polloi for his first encounter with hurdles.

The five-year-old won on his racecourse debut in February, taking a two-mile Kempton bumper in comfortable style.

He was also seen undertaking a racecourse gallop alongside stablemate and leading staying hurdler Paisley Park at Newbury’s televised Winter Carnival gallops morning.

“He went to Newbury and accompanied Paisley Park round there, he’ll start next week,” Lavelle said.

“He’s got three options, I’d say it’s probably most likely that he’ll go to Hereford next week.”

Lavelle has many positives to take from Doc Penfro effort at Cheltenham
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