Valtor relishes hurdles return at Ascot

Grand National also-ran triumphs for Nicky Henderson.

  • Saturday 23 November
  • News

Valtor, who was last seen finishing down the field in the Grand National, made a winning return to action as he claimed the Molton Brown Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot.

After running out an impressive victor over fences at the track on his British debut 11 months ago, the Nicky Henderson-trained 10-year-old regained the winning thread with a hard fought two-length success.

Trainer Nicky Henderson said of the 10-11 winner: “It is not often you go from a Grand National to a two-mile-five-furlong novice hurdle.

“Anthony (Bromley, racing manager to owners Isaac Souede and Simon Munir) quite rightly pointed out he is still a novice over hurdles.

“He will probably step up to three miles over hurdles. He is a lovely little horse that shows nothing at home. He doodles around and loves life.”

Pym confirmed the promised of his debut second over fences at Huntingdon last time when taking a step up to three miles in his stride to give Henderson a second winner on the card with a three-length success in the Horse Racing Ireland Chase.

Henderson said of the 11-4 winner: “I think the pleasing thing is he handled the ground very well. Three miles appears to be his trip.

“I thought he ran well (at Huntingdon) and he finished it well.

“He has jumped beautifully and he (Nico de Boinville) has given him a lovely ride – he gives the horse so much confidence.

“I’d like to keep it simple for the time being and I wouldn’t have any grand aspirations.”

Coillte Eile showed the benefit of a 124-day break in leaving a below-par effort at Cartmel behind to bounce back with a two-and-a-half-length success in the Trisoft Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Dr Richard Newland, trainer, said of the 10-1 winner: “I’m just so pleased for Pete and Amanda (Gardiner) as they are new owners with me. For them, having a first Ascot winner with their first runner, it doesn’t matter what grade of race.

“She won well at Aintree and had a nothing run at Cartmel. We gave her a nice break and thought she was in good nick. She is not very quick, but she tries and stays.”

Capeland (7-2) gained compensation for his disqualification at the track on his last start when winning the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained runner came home fifth after he was forced through the wings of the final fence by stablemate Diego Du Charmil at the beginning of the month, but he turned around that form with a 12-length victory.

Nicholls said: “That was a good race again. I thought with Capeland not getting a penalty, he was 6lb well in, but even if he had 6lb more he would have won.

“He has obviously improved a lot for the last run and he acts a little bit better on that ground. Diego travelled beautifully, but it was soft enough for him with that weight.

“Capeland deserved that really. Kathy (Stuart, owner) deserved that. She is a lovely lady and she was upset not for anyone else but the horse.

“I suspect we will have to go for a Graded race now and probably go for the Desert Orchid at Kempton.”

Soaring Glory can look forward to a step up in class on his next start after maintaining his unbeaten record with an impressive four-and-a-half-length verdict in the Rewarding Ownership With The ROA Standard Open National Hunt Flat.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill said of the 8-1 winner: “He is a good horse and you dream of training these sort of horses.

“I was worried about the ground as he is a big horse (who is) still filling his frame, but the way he did that was good. He will come back here for the Listed bumper before Christmas.

“He is the best bumper horse I’ve had for a while.”

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