Dream set for bigger things
A review of Friday's action at Haydock, where Cloudy Dream was most impressive for Malcolm Jefferson.
Malcolm Jefferson: Trains Cloudy Dream
Cloudy Dream was quoted as low as 10-1 for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March after maintaining his unbeaten record over fences in the Brown Shipley Graduation Chase at Haydock.
Second in the Scottish Champion Hurdle last season, he always looked a potentially smart prospect over fences and so it has proven to date with two faultless displays.
While he was in receipt of weight from all of his rivals, his superiority over them could not be doubted, as the in-form Brian Hughes kept the 4-6 favourite up to his work to beat Pain Au Chocolat by 12 lengths.
As ever, Malcolm Jefferson was refusing to get carried away and not looking beyond the next race – but the regard with which he holds Trevor Hemmings' grey could not be disguised.
"He didn't like the ground at all and he won't be running on it again," said Jefferson. "He got through it OK, but that was probably because it was the first race on the chase track.
"I was very pleased and it was a lovely performance, he was clever when he needed to be and made a lovely shape over his fences. The only trouble is where do we go next, he'll be hard to place having won two.
"I've no doubt he's up to stepping up in class, but I wouldn't want sticky ground in the winter.
"He might be better on some of the better drying tracks, Kempton for instance.
"There's the Wayward Lad there at Christmas or with Cheltenham's December meeting being on the New Course that might be decent ground.
"I want to see him in a better race, but those big novice chases tend to be small fields.
"He'll tell us where to go, there's no point me making big plans."
Politologue was another to earn Cheltenham quotes after a stunning chasing debut in the Betfair Exchange Novices' Chase.
Trainer Paul Nicholls' fears he may need the run first time out were unfounded as the 7-2 winner travelled strongly, jumped impeccably and cruised to a 10-length victory.
He was introduced into the RSA betting at 25-1 by Betfair.
"I couldn't be more pleased," said owner John Hales.
"When you invest and have faith in a horse – now that hurdles are a waste of time, it's great when they do that first time over fences.
"He was a sight to behold, the ground didn't bother him, but in truth they were splashing through it, it wasn't holding heavy.
"We've briefly discussed what might be next, but I'd rather enjoy this first before thinking about it and we'll see how he is in a few days.
"The world is his oyster."
Richard Hobson's Tahira (7-2) made all in the Betfair Ready Newton Novices' Hurdle to gain some valuable black type under Harry Skelton.
Nicky Henderson won the closing two races, with Constantine Bay (11-2) in the Oakmere Homes "Fixed Brush" "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle and Claimantakinforgan (11-4) in the Racing Welfare Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.