Nassalam is set to go for Grade One honours in the Finale Junior Hurdle at Chepstow later this month after confirming the impression of his debut display in Britain with a second wide-margin success at Fontwell.
Appropriately running in the One More For The Moore’s Juvenile Hurdle, the Gary Moore-trained three-year-old never gave those who were tempted by a price of 1-12 an anxious moment as he sauntered to victory.
Nassalam had won by 59 lengths on his first start for the West Sussex-based handler, also on this course, since his move from Guillaume Macaire in France.
This was just as impressive as he staked a big claim for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, for which he is a general 14-1 chance.
Holding a narrow lead from the outset, Jamie Moore gradually increased the tempo and the pressure on the opposition.
Nassalam’s jumping was slick, although he did jump slightly to the left. He pulled away at the business end to score by 49 lengths from 200-1 shot Zellerate.
The winning trainer said: “I’m very pleased. As long as he got round he had nothing to beat, but it was very straightforward. It’s not the way to make the running, but he kept it simple.
“He’ll run in the Finale at Chepstow just after Christmas. That’s where he goes next.”
The winning rider was also impressed with the performance.
“The last day I was coming back from an injury and I thought we had a good chance and today I thought I’d just enjoy it. These are the horses you want to be riding,” he told Sky Sports Racing.
“He’s jumped brilliant. I’m grinning. I really like this horse. I know the opposition wasn’t the best, but it’s just the way he does it. It’s all very easy for him.
“When he schools at home the first couple of hurdles he’s exuberant. I said to dad he’s improved since his last run. He’s got a lot fresher at home.
“He felt on top of the world today. He’s a lovely little horse – he’s like a baby Sire (De Grugy) with the face on him.
“He hasn’t beaten much so far, but they can only win. I gave him a squeeze after the last and there was plenty there.
“You can’t compare him with Goshen, but he’s another nice horse we’ve got hopefully. He’s had two nice runs so we can step him up in grade now and see what he can do then.”
Moore senior reports Goshen – who had last season’s Triumph Hurdle at his mercy before his heartbreaking exit at the final flight – to be on course for the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham following a pleasing workout on Tuesday.
“He worked today. All good. I was very pleased with him,” he said.
“At the moment he’s going to Cheltenham, definitely.”
The Moore stable completed a Fontwell double when Bridle Loanan (3-1 favourite) took the Thank You To The Cisswood Team Handicap Chase in the hands of Joshua Moore.
Call Off The Dogs (9-2) then made it a hat-trick when giving Jamie Moore a brace in the Christmas Offers At Champagne Piaff Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.