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Coral Challow Hurdle Preview: "It’s no surprise to see this £350,000 purchase heading the market"

31 Dec 2022
This looks like a stellar renewal of the Grade 1 Coral Challow Hurdle, with plenty of promising types clashing in a much bigger field than is usually the case. I couldn’t have been more impressed with Hermes Allen at Cheltenham last time, and it’s no surprise to see this £350,000 purchase heading the market, especially taking Paul Nicholls’ brilliant record in the race into account.

Plenty will want to take him on at a short price, but the way he jumped and dictated things from the front last time suggested he’s a potential superstar in the making, and even in this much tougher race, I suspect a repeat of that performance would make him very difficult to beat.

It’s no secret that the novice form in Ireland is usually much stronger than on our shores, so Paul Nolan’s Joyeaux Machin is one to take very seriously. He stayed on strongly at Fairyhouse earlier this month to get the better of a well-regarded horse of Willie Mullins’, so with more improvement likely, he’s expected to run a big race for his well-respected yard.

An interesting outsider of the horses at bigger prices is without doubt David Pipe’s five-year-old Thomas Mor. Although the form of the race he won at Wincanton last time can certainly be crabbed, the 57-length winning margin can’t, and a strongly run race at this trip should be right up his street, so he could be one to reward each-way backers.

Three to follow elsewhere on the card at Newbury

12:40 – Klitschko

There’s no doubting that Jet Powered sets the standard here following his comfortable win on debut for Nicky Henderson last time. He could take all the beating today, but Alan King’s well-bred four-year-old Klitschko is a horse I’ve been keeping a close eye on. He went into plenty of notebooks when quickening up well to win a Bumper at Huntingdon back in May, and although his jumping let him down when beaten at 4-11 on his hurdle debut last month, he still rates as an exciting prospect. If the first-time hood can settle him down and get him to concentrate on his jumping, then I think he could give the Nicky Henderson hotpot something to think about.

13:50 – Pikar

Following a close second behind Knappers Hill on debut in 2021, Dan Skelton’s Pikar struggled to land a blow on two starts in Graded company thereafter. He confirmed the promise of that debut effort when winning a competitive race at Chepstow in October with plenty in hand, and off an opening mark of 130 for his handicap debut, it would be no surprise if he made it 2-2 for the season.

15:35 – Doctor Ken

The Olly Murphy team have been in sparkling form of late, and the lightly-raced Doctor Ken has looked a really nice prospect so far. He followed up his win at Aintree last month with a good second at Ayr, when not beaten far by a nice horse of Stuart Crawford’s. Doctor Ken has looked a natural over his fences so far, and he rates as the type to do much better than a mark of 130 in time.

Lewis Knowles, Coral PR Executive
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