Doddiethegreat romps to victory on hurdling debut

Doddiethegreat made an impressive start to the campaign as he cantered home by 22 lengths in the Watch RacingTV With Free Trial Now Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.

Trained by Nicky Henderson, the five-year-old runs in the Honeysuckle colours of owner Kenny Alexander.

He is named after Scottish rugby union great Doddie Weir, who is suffering from motor neurone disease and has set up his own charity to help others in the same situation.

The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation aims to raise funds to aid research into MND, and Alexander has donated everything Doddiethegreat earns to the charity – adding just over £4,000 to the pot when he triumphed as the 1-3 favourite in the hands of Nico de Boinville on his hurdling debut.

The Nicky Henderson-trained runner was a bit keen in the early stages and showed his inexperience on what was just his third outing, but nevertheless his performance impressed Alexander’s racing manager Peter Molony.

“We were very pleased with the performance considering he pulled so hard – he was very fresh,” he said.

“He’s obviously got a pretty serious engine and it’s great for Doddie Weir’s foundation.

“Kenny has only met Doddie once, but he was very impressed when he met him, so he decided to do this.”

Molony reported Doddiethegreat to have sustained a cut during the race, but is hoping for a swift recovery.

He added: “We have one slight worry as the horse came back with quite a nasty cut. Hopefully he’ll be fine.

“He’s very exciting. I would think in a more strongly-run race he’ll jump better and settle better.

“Nicky has been very positive about him since he came back from his summer break, so fingers crossed the cut won’t be too bad and he’ll be OK.”

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