James Owen has his sights set on an early outing at Cheltenham with Royal Ascot winner Burdett Road who stamped his authority over his rivals in impressive fashion when making a winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon on Sunday (5th November).
The Newmarket handler left the Cambridgeshire track full of enthusiasm after the gelded son of Muhaarar made an instant impact on his switch from the Flat in the Follow Us On Twitter @betrhino Juvenile Hurdle to initiate a 2.2-1 double for jockey Harry Cobden on his 25th birthday.
After winning the Golden Gates Stakes at the Royal meeting in June, the Gredley Family-owned three-year-old was last sighted finishing third in the Group Three Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor back in August.
Although keen during the early exchanges of the two mile contest the 4-9 Favourite settled much better once sent into the lead by Harry Cobden past early pace setter, and eventual third, Through The Ages midway through the race.
As the field entered the home straight for the final time it looked as though Burdett Road was going to have a fight on his hands with the strong travelling Palio tracking his every move. However, Cobden steadily went through the gears on his mount before the pair secured victory by 12 lengths.
Owen said: “It can only go wrong when they are odds-on like that, but he had done lots of schooling at home. He was a keen horse on the Flat and that is why we put the hood on him.
“The plan was to go to Warwick, but as the ground was going to be so soft there we decided to come here. He has learnt a lot, but he will be better in a truer run race.
“We all know that he has got an engine and we have got to just keep teaching him now.
“I would have loved to have seen him settle better, but he did switch off fine when he got to the front and he jumped fine on the whole, with the exception of a couple of little mistakes.
“As far as juveniles go first time out that was okay. He got the job done and he was not for stopping.
“So much thanks go to the Gredley family for sending him to me. That has relieved the pressure a bit. Let’s hope we can keep building on that.”
Following the race Burdett Road was left unchanged at 33-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle by Paddy Power while William Hill went 20-1 for the same race at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
However, before thoughts are turned to that contest Owen will consider an outing at the Home of Jump Racing for Burdett Road later this month in the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle on November 18th.
Owen said: “If it is not deep ground in a couple of weeks’ time we will go for the Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham and learn a bit more about him.
“He needs education, and he is not a horse that wants to be running too fresh. He had plenty of Flat runs and he improved almost every time he ran.
“I don’t think the track at Cheltenham will pose any problems to him. I just hope he is a bit more amenable.”
There was further success for birthday boy Cobden after Mofasa built on an encouraging first start over fences when seeing the extended two miles and seven furlongs trip out best of them all in the Premier League Offers At Rhino.Bet Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
After finishing second on his chasing debut at Worcester the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old, who was placed at Grade Two level over hurdles for his previous trainer Michael Scudamore, battled on gamely to defeat top weight Captain Morgs by a length and a half.
Cobden said of the successful 5-4 Favourite: “He ran very well and jumped nicely, but he missed the water jump at the point we were quickening up a little bit. He turned into the straight and quickened clear nicely.
“I had a challenge from Nico (de Boinville) on my outside, but he dug deep to win nicely in the end. I think he was always going to keep finding a little bit more.
“I think we have got to have a look at a good handicap with him as he has got that experience over fences now.
“Paul might run him in one more race like this, but at the same time you want to have a go at those good races when you have a decent mark.”
Connections of Take No Chances are confident the five-year-old can develop into something ‘fairly useful’ as the season progresses following her first success under rules in the Download The Rhino.Bet App Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Having hit the frame in each of her three National Hunt Flat starts last season the Dan Skelton-trained Milan mare hit the ground running on her first start over hurdles in the extended two miles and three furlongs prize when getting the better of Phone Home by two and a quarter lengths
Bridget Andrews, spokeswoman for the yard, said: “She had some really good bumper form without winning, but we have always liked her a lot. We were relatively confident coming here.
“I’m sure Dan has got something in mind for her. I should think if she goes in again in another race like this then she would be stepped up in class.
“I do think she is up there with our better mares. Her attitude will stand her in good stead and her and Cherie D’Am are both very good jumpers.
“She is a lovely little filly and is very straightforward to deal with. Hopefully she can progress and turn into something fairly useful.”