It could have been 927 days since we final noticed him on the monitor, however the 2019 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills (11/4 favorite) made a profitable return in considerably unfamiliar circumstances, putting on the Flat at Haydock Park.
This task – within the penultimate Lee Thomas Christy Handicap over a mile and 6 furlongs – is actually a world away from his earlier run, when ninth behind Epatante within the 2020 Unibet Champion Hurdle, and he was a strongly-fancied favorite off an official mark of 69.
Nicky Henderson’s cost was actually made to work, nonetheless, and it took him till the final stride to select up the tenacious Pink Derek in an exhilarating end beneath Sean Levey.
It wouldn’t shock if connections took the view that the seven yr previous has extra to supply on the Flat this autumn, although Ryan Bliss, Assistant Racing Supervisor for the Homeowners Group, revealed that novice chasing will likely be his goal this winter.
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He mentioned: “In concept he was thrown in off his Flat mark, however on the similar time it’s an enormous ask for any horse to try this after so lengthy off and he’s needed to dig actually deep. He’s been entered up all summer season and it’s been dry as a bone, so Nicky’s needed to be actually affected person with him.
“Whether or not he runs on the Flat once more I don’t know however the plan is to go novice chasing with him. He had his faculty over fences final week and he’s all the time been an amazing jumper, so God keen he’ll keep in a single piece so we will get pleasure from him.
“When he got here dwelling after the Champion Hurdle he had a tendon damage, so he simply wanted loads of time for that. He was at Nicky’s within the spring with a view to operating on the Flat earlier than going leaping afterward and it’s simply taken a short while for that to return collectively.
“He’s not very large however one factor he’s all the time achieved since day one is be a extremely cracking, athletic jumper. Henrietta Knight did the early work with him and he or she’s all the time been an enormous fan of his, so we will’t wait to get going with him. Except Nicky’s inclined to strive once more with him on the Flat, the subsequent time you see him will likely be over fences.”
In the meantime, profitable jockey Sean Levey, who rode a 25-1 double on the cardboard, added: “That was unbelievable and he’s the utmost skilled. He appeared to be eager in his races however he travelled alongside fantastically again on the Flat and was very aggressive at each stage of the race.
“I assumed he was spectacular for a horse that’s had a lot day off. He could also be a bit of bit well-treated on the Flat however he’s a pleasant horse – although he’ll be on his personal if he goes again over these fences!”
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