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Press Release 18th November 2023 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

James Owen saw his search for a first Cheltenham winner end in emphatic fashion after Royal Ascot scorer Burdett Road produced an exhilarating performance to maintain his unbeaten record over jumps in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday 18th November, day two of The November Meeting.

After making a winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon 13 days ago the Muhaarar gelding, who secured victory in the Golden Gates Handicap at the Royal meeting when trained by Michael Bell, looked a class above his rivals when running out a decisive winner of today’s Grade Two contest. 

Anchored at the rear of the field during the early exchanges in the extended two-mile contest the 9-4 chance steadily worked his way through rivals before being delivered with his winning run as the field headed down to the final flight. 

Measuring the last well The Gredley Family-owned three-year-old eased the concerns his Newmarket handler had of the ground being too soft following overnight rain when turning on the afterburners up the hill to clear right away under Harry Cobden and score by six and a half lengths. 

Owen said: “We had to ride him like that. When the rain came last night I was like ‘Oh my God’, but he is a fair animal. 

“A lot of the hurdles he hasn’t seen, but he has learnt a lot. On good ground he is going to be exciting come March. 

“I’m in a privileged position to have these horses, but I’m delighted it is going well. We had to do one of two things, either make it or drop him in, and we have done the right thing. 

“He was a bit more amenable today as he settled and jumped better. He has got some engine. He is tough. For a Flat horse he has got plenty of guts about him. I knew he would keep coming. 

“Harry is a lot cooler than me as I’ve been so nervous, but I love it. 

“This is massive. We have brought a few hunter chasers here in the past and you always go home thinking it is so hard to win here, but to get the job done is brilliant.”

All roads will now lead to the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March for Burdett Road, who was cut for the Grade One prize by Paddy Power from 20-1 into 7-1 while Sky Bet went 8-1 for the same race. 

Owen continued: “This is a Triumph Hurdle trial and that is now the aim. On good ground he will be exciting.

“We are loving the game and we have got a great team. I need more horses and we have proven we can do the job.

“I would love to get more horses as this is what we want to do. Hopefully this is a good advert.”


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