Surrey Quest is seen as a long-term project after making the perfect start to his jumping career with victories at Leicester and Doncaster.
The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was part of an across-the-card double for the Surrey Racing syndicate when successful at the latter track on Wednesday, with Gran Luna providing the first leg just 15 minutes earlier at Newbury.
But it is in the future where the owners believe Surrey Quest will be seen at his best.
“He’s a good horse, he’s just very immature and thinks it’s all a game at the moment. He’s very exuberant. He ran all over the place and didn’t know what to do when he got into the lead. He’s going to come on for that loads,” said Clive Hadingham, co-founder of Surrey Racing with Steve Grubb.
“He won’t be pushed this year. He’s going to be better next year. He needs to learn. He has to grow, he still has to mature and I think he’s going to get hit hard by the handicapper after the two wins he’s had.
“To put him in with handicappers, who know so much more about what’s going on, we’re going to have fairly careful with him. Maybe we’ll go for another novice with another penalty or maybe try to find a Listed race somewhere. We might have to go that route to start with.
“He’s come on so much this year and he’s going to come on more. He’s going to be a three-mile chaser. That’s his future. I don’t think we’ll see the best of him until he’s seven or eight.
“He loves what he’s doing and we don’t want to change that. There’s no need to go for the big day while he’s still young and immature. It will come. I think he’s going to have a big future.”
Gran Luna, also trained by Henderson, is unbeaten in three starts at Newbury.
“Gran Luna is three from three at Newbury. She’s had a few issues, she had a breathing op a year ago. Nicky thought she might have a good chance in the mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham, but that never materialised,” said Hadingham.
“She’s rated 117 – the handicapper will probably put her up 3lb or 4lb. She’s going to win more races. She likes a galloping track and probably prefers further, but it was pretty heavy at Newbury so two miles was OK.
“She will want further going forward. She will stick to hurdling this year. I think we are going to be selective in her placing.”
Surrey Racing only got going in 2016, and have just the nine horses – but it was their third double on the same day.
“It’s the third time we’ve had a double on the day. We’re getting greedy. It’s great for brand awareness. We’ve had a lot of potential owners call us up over the last couple of days to join in with some of the horses we’ve got shares available. The best form of advertising is having a winner,” Hadingham went on.
“Steve and I, who set it up, live in Cobham in Surrey. I’ve had shares in horses before in another syndicate and didn’t enjoy the experience. Steve had horses on his own which was expensive. We were having a beer locally, got chatting about buying a horse together.
“We bought three horses, had a website built on the cheap and all three horses won. It kick-started it and has carried on from there. It stated off as a hobby, but now we’ve got nine horses and looking to expand. It’s become a bit more serious.
“We’ve had some good winners. We had a fifth in the German Derby (in 2019), Surrey Thunder, who we bought for just under £40,000 and sold him to Chris Waller in Australia for £300,000. It’s gone strength from strength.”