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Article 31st October 2022 Huntingdon

By Graham Clark

Taking a chance on purchasing Fils De Roi following a conversation between connections on a car journey to Market Rasen was vindicated at Huntingdon yesterday following his clear cut victory in the Follow Racing TV On Twitter Juvenile Hurdle. 

Although originally looking at another runner in the claiming hurdle that the three year old won at Auteuil 36 days ago, connections decided to switch their attention to the Saint Des Saints gelding instead following his 15-length triumph.

Sent off 2-1 Favourite to make his stable debut for Fergal O’Brien a winning one, Fils De Roi read the script perfectly under Jack Hogan to defeat Admiralty House by four and a quarter lengths much to the delight of The Yes No Wait Sorries syndicate. 

Sally Randell, partner of the winning trainer, said: “We looked at the horse that didn’t run well in the claimer this horse won. Me and Chris (Coley, of winning syndicate The Yes No Wait Sorries) were in the car going to Market Rasen and I said why don’t we ask them about the winner.

“We were told he was a bit small but we said that doesn’t matter we will have him. We put a bid in and we got him.

“We’ve had a lot of bad luck with The Yes No Wait Sorries but Chris said come on let’s buy a juvenile. I want to have a nice horse with the crew that have been with me for a long time.

“He has got a skippy little stride and he doesn’t look like a horse that wants soft ground. Jack said it is not that he wants it (soft ground) but he hasn’t got a turn of foot to handle that ground again.

“We will stick to cut in the ground and give him a little break before we go again. He is the happiest little lad and he really is loving life.”

The victory was also a landmark one for 16 year old groom Tia Frogley, with it being the first winner she has led up.

Frogley said: “I’ve only been with Fergal a month and this is my first winner that I have led up. It feels really good and I can’t believe this has happened.”

Sedge Wren still has plenty to learn in the jumping department but she demonstrated that has a sizeable engine underneath when making a winning return to action in the Bet On Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. 

Third in her two bumpers last season, with the first of those achieved at the Cambridgeshire track, the Stuart Edmunds-trained filly made an instant impact on her switch to hurdles despite producing a less than fluent round of jumping. 

Finding plenty late on in the extended two miles and three furlongs prize the Evens Favourite defeated recent course and distance winner Martalindy by five lengths. 

Edmunds said: “Charlie (Hammond) said she just ballooned the first and frightened herself a bit. She is a good galloper and has got a good engine. 

“We have done lots of jumping with her but we need to get it better. We beat the third (Maridadi) a long way in a bumper at Cheltenham last season so we were fairly confident today. 

“She isn’t slow as I did have entered up over two miles as well. She has schooled very well so we won’t take that round of jumping to heart. I think she is quite decent.”

Permit holder Tony Forbes admits he still gets the same buzz as when he started out more than 40 years ago after Chef De Troupe provided him with his first Jump winner in more than three years with victory in the Watch Every Race On Racing TV Claiming Hurdle. 

The nine year old gelding ended his own winless run which stretched back to his victory in the 2020 renewal of the two mile contest when scoring by nine and a half lengths.  

Forbes said of the 3-1 winner: “He has issues with his knees and that is why he is in the claimer. He is a fun horse. I’ve just got the three in training. 

“I’ve been going for about 40 years. I’m 74 and I’ve been doing since my thirties. We do it for the fun and the craic and we pick up bits and pieces along the way.”

Nicky Henderson secured what will undoubtedly turn out to be the easiest winner he trains all season after 2019 Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills received a walkover in the opening Racing TV Novices’ Chase.

The seven year old picked up the £8,713.60 purse for first place after sole rival Aucunrique, winner of last season’s Grade Two Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton Park, was withdrawn by trainer Chris Gordon less than five minutes before the start of the race.

Although grateful to receive the first-place prize money Henderson admitted it now leaves him facing a dilemma with Pentland Hills, who picked up a penalty for the walkover, with the likes of Grade One-winning stablemate Jonbon and Balco Coastal in the same division. 

Henderson said: “Chris had said yesterday if it was quick he might not run as he hadn’t run at Cheltenham last time. We were always going to run. It is very difficult and we all get cold feet at times as the horse comes first.

“He would handle quick ground and he has done everything right at home. He has had a run on Flat just because he had the time off and he won that.

“The problem is he picks up a penalty and where do you go next as he is rated 150? I can’t find a race for Jonbon before the Henry VIII. There is several of them all rated in the 150s. They can’t run in a two mile novice handicap and there are no two mile novice chases.

“I’m sad to say the system makes it difficult for us. He has to come into a novice chase with a penalty. He gets lots of prize money but he has got no experience but he has to come into another novice chase with 150 rated horses giving them six or seven pounds.

“The cat hasn’t got much cream as you think as it has given us a dilemma. There was a race at Warwick on Tuesday and I entered him in case this happened.

“To be fair the Owners Group had Stage Star in there. You can’t expect them to run two against each other but that will happen soon.

“His one great weapon is his jumping as he was a better hurdler than a Flat horse and I think he could easily be a better than a chaser than a hurdler. His schooling over fences has been fantastic.

“In the good old days walkovers did happen as you didn’t know what was happening, but now you have this transparency in entries that it really can’t happen but we always knew this would be a two horse race.

“There is a race at Kempton Park over two miles two in November but again we need the ground. There are just so few races.

“I’ve talked to the BHA. It is not anybody’s fault there are only two runners it was only because of the ground and no other reason.”


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