Author: Derek Thompson
BUVEUIR D’AIR remains on course for a third Champion Hurdle win after making a sensational seasonal debut in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. The 7yo, ridden by Barry Geraghty in the green and gold hoops of owner, Irish millionaire J P McManus, sauntered away on the run in to beat Samcro, the young pretender to his crown, by eight lengths! It was a marvellous first run of the season for the Nicky Henderson-trained horse who was winning his 11th straight race and will run next in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton later this month. On this performance he is undoubtedly the one they all have to beat at the Cheltenham Festival in March and if he does win, he’ll become the first triple winner of the Champion Hurdle since Istabraq in the last century who also carried the same colours of owner J P McManus!
Colin Tizzard achieved a notable training feat when his three runners finished first, second and fifth in one of the most competitive races of the season, the £200,000 Ladbrokes Chase at Newbury. Sizing Tennessee won the race beating stable companion Elegant Escape and follows in the hoofprints of some notable previous winners including Arkle, Mill House, Denman, Many Clouds and subsequent Gold Cup winner Native River who is also trained in Somerset by Tizzard. It was also an emotional success for jockey Tom Scudamore who lost his granddad two weeks ago and will now attempt to win another big race on Sizing Tennessee, namely the Welsh National at Chepstow later this month. There was also a notable success for North Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby, who drove the horsebox on the 550 mile round trip leaving at 5am and it was all worthwhile because Lady Buttons pulled off her tenth win from 24 career starts in the concluding handicap chase.
Kirby started off in life wanting to be a footballer and actually played alongside a young David Beckham when they were youngsters at Preston North End. Another trainer in fine form was Joseph O’Brien, son of Aidan, who sent out a fantastic winning quartet at Fairyhouse in Ireland. Joseph has his horses in tremendous form and over 28 hours last week managed to train an amazing nine winners! The Tattersalls Sales at Newmarket continue to break records, indeed, the December Foal Sale last week resulted in an incredible turnover of over 34,000,000 guineas, an increase of 17% on last year. The highest price of 1,700,000gns was paid for a Galileo filly, the highest price paid for a filly foal in 2018, and the average price was over 50,000gns.
And well done to Ahmad bin Harmash who sent out three winners at Jebel Ali last week. His horses are not only running well, they are looking fit and strong and in Connor Beasley he has an exceptional jockey. Considering just three years ago Beasley suffered such a bad fall it was feared he would never walk, never mind ride again, but he has fought his way back to full fitness and is to be applauded.