JPR One stamped his class on the Download The Racing App Now Lightning Novices’ Chase at Lingfield.
A winner on his chasing debut at Newton Abbot in October, Joe Tizzard’s charge looked set to follow up in the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham the following month when unseating Brendan Powell at the final fence.
In December, he finished a creditable third in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown and got back on the winning trail in this Grade Two event, which was saved and rescheduled following the abandonment of the opening day of the Winter Million Festival on Friday.
There was drama from the off, with Matata hanging violently left on the approach to the first fence, badly impeding the 9-4 favourite Djelo, who had nowhere to go and ultimately came to grief.
Matata attempted to make every yard of the running from that point on, but 6-1 shot JPR One took over travelling strongly five fences from home and looked in control for the remainder of the race.
Matata did his best to make a race of it in the home straight and was making inroads on an idling JPR One late on, but the latter was good value for the winning margin of half a length.
Tizzard said: “He was really good today. I’m not making too many excuses for Sandown, I just think he got stuck in the Sandown ground, which you can.
“We had a little walk down the straight today and I was amazed by how well it walked. It was an easy watch today, he travelled great and jumped for fun and that’s the horse we think we’ve got up against the best two-mile novices in England anyway.
“We’ve always held him in pretty high regard and he perhaps didn’t get to the levels over hurdles, but certainly over fences, if he didn’t have that little stumble at the back of the last at Cheltenham, he was going to look majorly impressive.
“I think the ground at Sandown just took its toll but today is the best we’ve seen him and he’s got a fair bit about him on the day.
“He’s got so much athleticism and Brendan has got the hang of not getting too excited – and you could tell he enjoyed that today. We think he’s a smart horse with a big future.”
Coral cut JPR One to 16-1 from 25-1 for the Arkle Trophy and Tizzard confirmed that Cheltenham Festival contest as his next objective.
He added: “We’ll have to take him to the Arkle now, he deserves to be there.
“He’s only a novice for one year, so I would have thought we would have a crack at it. He’s already proved he runs well around Cheltenham, so I don’t know why we wouldn’t.”
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