Double delight for Henderson
A review of Monday's action at Doncaster where Nicky Henderson had a couple of winners including Stowaway Magic.
Stowaway Magic wins at Doncaster
The colours of Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin are becoming a more familiar sight in the winner's enclosure and having sent two horses to Doncaster on Monday they were rewarded with a double.
Their 12-strong string is trained in Lambourn by Nicky Henderson and they certainly appear to have a 'type', with all their recent winners, including Lough Derg Farmer and Stowaway Magic on Town Moor, looking sure to improve for fences.
After Constantine Bay won at Chepstow on Sunday, the pair have now had seven winners this season with six individual victors from just 11 horses seen to date.
Lough Derg Farmer eventually ran out a convincing winner of the sunbets.co.uk Maiden Hurdle – but success had looked far from assured at the top of the long home straight.
Jerry McGrath was niggling at the 5-2 chance from some way out, but he stuck to his task and on the run to the last he drew alongside Tree Of Liberty, going to win pulling away by six lengths.
Henderson said: "He wants three miles and fences really. Like a few others we've got for these owners, he's only playing at hurdling and will be seen to better effect next season.
"He's only a baby, he'll run again but we've no fancy plans or anything."
In contrast, Stowaway Magic (2-5 favourite) always looked in cruise control under Daryl Jacob and the nine lengths he won the Karl Smith Men's Grooming "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle by could easily have been doubled.
The winner was given quotes of around 25-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March, but that looks unlikely.
"Experience is what he needs, he's still very green," said Henderson.
"He should have been out earlier in the season as he wants good ground and we actually won a novice with him in May but he had a few niggles.
"He's on the up and there might be something nice for him in the spring before he goes chasing next year as that's his job, he's already won a point.
"He should have a bright future."
Henderson's former assistant Ben Pauling was left cursing his luck after Cyrius Moriviere unseated at the second-last with the grandnational2017.com Novices' Chase at his mercy.
A smart hurdler, he promises to be a better chaser but has now failed to complete in three races.
David Bass spectacularly exited to his right in mid-air as the saddle slipped, leaving Querry Horse (11-2) to stay on best of all and beat Winner Massagot and Henderson's Hammersly Lake by three-quarters of a length.
Pauling said: "The saddle went before the second-last, I don't know why because I've never had a saddle slip in all my time as a trainer or saddling for Henderson.
"I feel very sorry for the owners as I've always assured them he'd be a better chaser than hurdler and I'm sure he will be.
"He's got 'F U U' by his name, but he's not a bad jumper, it's just unlucky."
The winner was trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by his nephew Jack, son of 1989 Gold Cup-winning jockey Simon Sherwood.
"The most difficult owner in my yard has a share in him, my brother. With my nephew riding it's a popular success," smiled Sherwood.
"He's a cracking little horse, he only cost about £20,000 from France and when we step him up to three miles he'll be better for it.
"I caught a lift up here with Nicky and he did say that at the weights he thought mine would win as his would have to run to a mark of 149 and he was only rated 142. I'd better check I'm not going home in the horsebox."
I Just Know (7-4 favourite) was given a typically positive Danny Cook ride to win the Pegler Yorkshire Chase for Sue Smith, while Ben Case's Graceful Legend (15-8 favourite) followed up a recent course win in the Polypipe Mares' Handicap Hurdle.