Tag Archive for: Coral Hurdle

Long Walk back at Ascot set to be next target for Buzz

Ascot’s Coral Hurdle winner Buzz will return to his favourite track in the Long Walk Hurdle on December 18, after taking Saturday’s exertions well, according to Thurloe Thoroughbreds founder James Stafford.

Stayers’ Hurdle sponsors Paddy Power cut the galloping grey, trained by Nicky Henderson, to 8-1 (from 12s) for their race, following the cosy three-and-a-quarter-length success in the extended two-mile-three-furlong Grade Two contest.

Stafford feels the seven-year-old, who was previously seen winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket under Oisin Murphy, is a “natural athlete” and should continue to progress.

He said: “It was a great thrill to see him do that, especially as there is always the worry that he may not bounce back after his exertions in the Cesarewitch.

“He was in great form and it was marvellous to see him do what we always thought he was capable of doing. He has always looked as if he wants two and a half miles and probably further – and he definitely wants further.

“They went a good pace and it was a good test for them. It was a truly-run race and Song For Someone was always going to ensure there was a good pace.

“As soon as we know everything is OK – and I think everything is OK, as he has come out of the race all right – the plan is to make sure he is tickety-boo for the Long Walk Hurdle on December 18.

“He has been a revelation, really. We knew he was a nice horse when we bought him, but that does not automatically transfer from being a nice horse into hurdling, but he has done really well.

“He jumped three or four flights of hurdles in his build-up to this race and he just takes things very naturally. He is a natural athlete and it is very exciting.”

A quarter of the prize money earned by Buzz, who races in the familiar lime and yellow silks of the Thurloe Thoroughbreds, goes to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Stafford added: “The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in aid of the Oak Cancer Centre, which they are building, is going to benefit from the syndicate.

“So, that has benefitted enormously from the prize-money the horses have earned – it is not just Buzz.

“My brother-in-law, Oliver Pawle, is on the board of the Oak Cancer Centre Appeal board and we know the chap who chairs it, Mike Slade, who has had horses all his life including with David Elsworth. We have a got a lot of racing people involved.

“The idea was put up two years ago that we would form a syndicate and try to benefit the charity by donating 25 per cent of the prize-money.

“We had no idea how it would work, but it has worked out surprisingly well. We never thought we’d raise £54,000 which is what we are going to be doing for this year.

“It would be nice to think Buzz will be able to continue to add to that.

“Buzz will tell us when he is ready, but the Long Walk is the target and he is back on his favourite track – he has won two of three at Ascot, so let’s see if he can make it three from four.”

Buzz light years in front at Ascot

Buzz delighted the Ascot crowd as he easily accounted for a classy field in the Coral Hurdle.

Sent off the even-money favourite, the Nicky Henderson-trained Buzz was last seen winning the Cesarewitch on the Flat at Newmarket last month and he made a seamless switch back to the winter game in this Grade Two event.

Defending champion Song For Someone set out to make all, bowling along nicely in front for Aidan Coleman as Nico de Boinville kept his mount under wraps for most of the extended two-mile-three-furlong trip.

Buzz was clearly travelling best of all at the top of the straight and while his rivals were hard at work after jumping two out, he was pulling double in the hands of De Boinville.

The seven-year-old needed only the slightest of encouragement to push on and win by three and a half lengths from the gutsy Song For Someone, who was conceding 6lb to the winner.

Guard Your Dreams kept on for third, with Goshen only fourth.

Henderson said: “His jumping was amazing, that was Champion Hurdle-standard jumping.

“He was so quick from the get go, we always knew there was going to be a pretty strong gallop – Goshen didn’t do quite what we expected him to do, but even so they went a good gallop. He never missed a jump.

“I think we’ve got to try going up (in trip). Nobody knows if he’ll stay, all we know is he loves soft ground so we’re not going to be worried about that. He’s perfectly happy on this, which is probably the same as what Newmarket was.”

Betfair cut Buzz to 8-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle, and the Seven Barrows trainer added: “The idea was always to try him at three, you can always come back.

“I think if you never ask the question…we’ll see what Nico says, he might say ‘that’s madness!’, but I can’t see him coming back and being a two-mile Champion Hurdler.”

There was extra joy for connections, as Buzz runs in the colours of the Thurloe For Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, with 25 per cent of the share of the horse’s prize-money for the owners donated to the charity.

James Stafford of Thurloe Thoroughbreds said: “On Tuesday we will hand over a cheque for £54,000, hopefully racing has done some good for the cancer charity.”

Song aiming to hit winning note again in Coral Hurdle defence

Song For Someone returns to the scene of one of his finest hours when he defends his Coral Hurdle title at Ascot on Saturday.

The Tom Symonds-trained gelding beat two rivals to land this prize 12 months ago – by five lengths from Call Me Lord – and makes his seasonal debut having a wind operation following a disappointing end to the season.

Having been pulled up in the Aintree Hurdle, Symonds is first and foremost hoping Song For Someone can put up a good show on his return at a track that suits.

“He’s in good form. He had a wind op over the summer. It’s going to be tough, but it always is with penalties and it’s his first run of the season,” said the Ross-on-Wye trainer.

“I just want to see him back to the horse we saw at the beginning of last season. I know that doesn’t always equate to winning, but as long as we see that I’d be happy.

“He’s done well there. It’s the kind of track he enjoys the nature of. It’s quite interesting with Goshen, they are one apiece. It’s quite funny – one ran quite well and the other one hasn’t each time. It was like that for Goshen at Cheltenham and similar for us at Wincanton, so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

“There are other horses, too, but just between them it’s quite interesting. It’s what is good about the game, horses coming up against each other all the time.

“It’s fingers crossed for a good run, but we’re very happy with him.”

Jamie Moore hopes the unseasonal ground will not be a hindrance to Goshen on his comeback.

The five-year-old, trained by Moore’s father, Gary, was a late withdrawal from the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton earlier this month because conditions were too quick.

Moore is keeping his fingers crossed the ground will be safe enough for Goshen to run at Ascot.

“It’s nice to hopefully get him back racing,” said the jockey.

“He won over two-miles-two as a baby at Fontwell, so we’ll think he’ll be OK over the trip.

“He’s done everything right. He was ready to go to Wincanton, but he missed that. The owners have had to be very patient, so in an ideal world we’d want more rain for juice in the ground. It’s been a very dry November and a shame for everyone and it is showing with the field sizes.

“We’ll be hoping the ground will be safe. He seems OK at home, but he’s a bit wrong at the weights with Buzz – he was a very good winner of the Cesarewitch and could be hard to beat.”

Nicky Henderson, meanwhile, is looking forward to putting Buzz back over jumps after his win in the Newmarket marathon last month.

“I’m starting him off over two and a half on Saturday, but hope we end up with a two-miler and even a three-mile horse,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

“After Ascot we might have to go three back there in the Long Walk – I can’t say we won’t do that.”

Like Goshen, Buzz prefers softer ground.

“What is certain is that he needs the cut in the ground, and we were aware of that when we were going into the Newmarket race,” Henderson added.

Song For Someone excels in Coral Hurdle

Song For Someone made every yard of the running to lift Grade Two honours in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

Nico de Boinville executed a perfectly-judged front-running ride aboard Tom Symonds’ charge to see off Call Me Lord and hot favourite Laurina with the minimum of fuss.

The five-year-old Song For Someone had been off the track since winning at Kempton in February, but De Boinville was eager to assume control from the off, with 11-8 favourite Laurina racing pretty keenly on her first start for Paul Nicholls.

She was first off the bridle turning for home and quickly dropped away as it turned into a straight duel between Song For Someone and Call Me Lord, who is trained by De Boinville’s boss, Nicky Henderson.

However, Song For Someone (11-4) had plenty in reserve, kicking on after the last to win by five lengths.

Symonds said: “The way he won the Kingwell really sat with us and kept us going through lockdown. On that day we saw a different dynamic to him, as he won on a sharp track on good ground, which I didn’t think he would be able to do.

“Today he was quite fresh early on, Nico said. He came in quite early as we have had a few early targets, but the one I wanted to go for was this, as he had run so well here before on this ground. He loves this type of park track.

“His hurdling is brilliant. He is so technically accurate, it is a joy to watch. At home it is quite scary as you can’t school him slowly as he hits everything, but if you go flat out, that’s when you see him at his best.”

Symonds, a former assistant to Henderson, added: “I know Nico from the early days and I remember him leading me on Long Run round the bowl in Lambourn before his Gold Cup win.

“He just kept it very simple and the horse likes it simple like that, as he can keep going. He is a fabulous horse, he is so unassuming. I’m delighted for the team as they have been great.

“The plans are I don’t know what. It would not be my style to go for the Fighting Fifth as these races, no matter how easy it looks, take a lot out of the horses. I’m thinking you could look at the International Hurdle or the Christmas Hurdle, but the ground would need to be soft.”

Song For Someone earned quotes of 25-1 with Coral and 33-1 with Betfair for the Champion Hurdle in March, but Symonds said: “He is a really good horse, but whether he has the tactical speed for a Champion Hurdle, I don’t know. The one I thought he would have run well in is the one last season as it was real soft ground, but the track would suit him.

“It might be we go to the International Hurdle and have a go at that. He did win a Kingwell on good ground, but I don’t think Kempton is his track. It’s a lovely problem to have, but you just want to do right by the horse.”