Blueking D’Oroux improves again for Cheltenham win

Blueking D’Oroux may have booked his ticket for the Greatwood Hurdle back at Cheltenham next month following a straightforward success in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle.

Trained by Paul Nicholls, the four-year-old arrived from France with a fairly tall reputation but took a while to adapt to his new surroundings.

He ended last season in good form, though, by winning a decent handicap at Ascot at 50-1 and finishing second at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

Harry Cobden always looked in control on this occasion and the 5-2 chance came up the hill on his own to win by two lengths.

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Nicholls said: “I’m thrilled with that. On ratings, he was entitled to win and we had him ready for today. He has improved so much for last season’s wind operation, as he was a disaster at the start.

“He’s always been quite a nice horse, but he was struggling with his breathing and never showed anything at home.

“But after his summer out he’s worked beautifully. He’s improved from last year and is an improving horse. Some of ours are needing their runs and I’ve not been in such a hurry with them. It’s all about their futures.

“This horse is in the Greatwood and at Ascot and we’ll look at races like the Betfair Hurdle later in the season. He’ll go novice chasing next year. He’s got to take on older horses in handicaps.”

Coral cut the winner from 16-1 into 12s for the Greatwood Hurdle next month.

Nicky Henderson walks in with Hyland
Nicky Henderson walks in with Hyland (PA)

Nicky Henderson’s Hyland (9-1) was given a patient ride by Nico de Boinville to win the Pertemps Network Qualifier.

Top weight Flight Deck made a very bold bid from the front on his first outing for Deborah Cole but Hyland joined him at the last and went on to win by two lengths. Judicial passed Flight Deck up the hill to claim second.

David Sumpter, spokesman for the winning Ten From Seven syndicate said: “We’ve had lots of winners, that is number 99, but it’s the first one here at Cheltenham for myself and I’m overwhelmed.

“The ground was getting too soft for him but Nico decided to stick to the inner and he handled it superbly. Ten From Seven have been going for 20 years and originally was made up for people from Seven Barrows.”

Hyland was given a 25-1 quote for the Pertemps Final by Paddy Power.

Butch looks to have a bright future
Butch looks to have a bright future (PA)

The Olly Murphy-trained Butch (3-1) made almost all the running in the William Hill Epic Weekend Free Bet Novices’ Hurdle.

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Sean Bowen set off to make it a proper gallop but Keith Donoghue had bided his time on Antrim Coast and seemed to have delivered him perfectly after the last to hit the front deep inside the final furlong.

To Butch’s credit, however, he battled back and got back up to win by a neck.

Bowen said: “He was the only runner that had run over three miles and so I wanted to make the best of it.

“The horse gave everything and really stuck his head out. It’s not often they come back like that after being headed.”

Winning owner Max McNeil said: “The horse has proved he’s an out and out stayer, that’s why we wanted to make it a test, and Sean read the script well.

“This is a very good prospect but I’m also very excited about Inthewaterside at Aintree tomorrow.”

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