Tag Archive for: Gidleigh Park

Gidleigh Park has Fry up for Albert Bartlett bid

Harry Fry’s unbeaten Gidleigh Park leads the British challenge in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The six-year-old has done nothing wrong in four starts so far, winning a bumper before taking two hurdle contests at a canter late last year.

He stepped up to Grade Two level at Cheltenham in January and although the race was slowly run with a sprint finish, he did what was required and put his head down to prevail by half a length from Lucky Place.

A step up in trip and grade now beckons at Cheltenham, where the strapping son of Walk In The Park looks to take the next step in his promising career.

“We’ve been delighted with everything he’s done so far, hopefully he can continue that progression,” said Fry.

Gidleigh Park and jockey Jonathan Burke
Gidleigh Park and jockey Jonathan Burke (Nigel French/PA)

“He’ll certainly need to to take on the Irish horses, but I think the step up in trip should be a positive and he showed a liking to the track when winning on Trials day

“The runner-up there was fourth in the Coral Cup yesterday, our horse won the battle and came out the right side of it and tomorrow he won’t have it all his own way either.

“He’s a young horse that we’re very excited about and hopefully he can give us a good day.”

Willie Mullins has no less than five runners, with his contingent headed by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Readin Tommy Wrong.

He is yet to be defeated under rules and was the winner of the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle last time out.

Readin Tommy Wrong at Willie Mullins' stable
Readin Tommy Wrong at Willie Mullins’ stable (Niall Carson/PA)

Dancing City also arrives in good form having won the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle on his last outing, with High Class Hero another contender yet to be outdone under rules.

Mullins said: “Readin Tommy Wrong has stamina and class, and when High Class Hero won his race in the autumn, I said to (assistant trainer) David Casey I’ll pick one race in the spring as a prep for Cheltenham, I don’t want him having a hard race at the Dublin Racing Festival and he found the race at Thurles and he came through it lovely.

“Dancing City had actually been disappointing me and then everything came right in Leopardstown, it was obviously a step up in trip and maybe nicer ground were a big help to him. I think he’ll go to the Albert Bartlett with a chance.”

Danny Mullins will take the ride on Dancing City for his uncle, and he said of the horse: “It was a surprise that he won in Leopardstown.

“He was quite disappointing on his first run of the season and then found the necessary improvement to go and win his maiden hurdle in Navan when I got to ride him.

Dancing City winning the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle
Dancing City winning the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (Damien Eagers/PA)

“We knew he’d have to find as much, if not more, again to go and win a Grade One, which he did, and it’s probably another step up the ladder to go and win an Albert Bartlett, but he looks in great nick at home and has the potential to do that, so you couldn’t write him off.”

Paul Nicholls runs Captain Teague, second in the Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle at Grade Two level in November and then the winner of the Grade One Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

“He’s a classy horse who showed a great attitude to see off three challengers in attritional ground in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury at the end of December,” he told Betfair.

“He’s a strong stayer, conditions are right for him and he worked really well on an away day at Kempton earlier this month. He is as fresh as fresh could be and has a lovely chance. “

Gidleigh Park poser for Fry after hard-fought victory

Harry Fry was left pondering where to head at the Cheltenham Festival having seen his hugely-talented Gidleigh Park remain unbeaten in the SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Hurdle.

The strapping six-year-old went to Cheltenham for his Festival dress rehearsal with a perfect record of three from three, having backed up his wide-margin bumper success last term with two impressive displays over hurdles.

He was sent off the 5-6 favourite in the hands of Johnny Burke, but was made to pull out all the stops by Nicky Henderson’s 15-2 shot Lucky Place, prevailing by half a length in a tight finish.

Having scored over just shy of two miles and five furlongs, Fry now needs to decide whether Gidleigh Park remains at a similar distance for the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle or steps up to three miles for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – a race he has won in the past with Unowhatimeanharry (2016).

“It’s a Grade Two on Trials Day and we were stepping up in grade, so we knew he needed to step up,” said Fry.

“Talking with Johnny there, the race hasn’t been run to suit and it has turned into a bit of sprint for home, but he has got down and battled and got the job done on the day.

“It’s the first time he’s had to really battle and he will have learned again and be sharper for it. But he’s almost given us more questions than answers in terms of which race to run him in in March.

“They didn’t go fast and we have to go home and reflect, but he’s won and we can’t complain about that. That’s what it is all about, a win is a win and he’s done it in spite of things being run not quite to suit, so it’s onwards and upwards.

“Come March they will go a proper gallop and he’s come here, stayed unbeaten and the dream is still alive. We will go home, enjoy it and it’s a nice dilemma to have.

“Relieved is probably the overriding feeling right now and we’ve got six weeks to now work out what race we go for.”

Fry is no stranger to handling quality young stock and although unwilling to compare him to the likes of the aforementioned Unowhatimeanharry and ill-fated Neon Wolf, he believes his future lies over the larger obstacles where the patience of winning owners, the Eyre Family, will truly be rewarded.

Gidleigh Park and connections after winning at Cheltenham
Gidleigh Park and connections after winning at Cheltenham (Nigel French/PA)

Fry continued: “He’s done everything right so far and I don’t like comparing horses, so we will just let him be Gidleigh Park. He will tell us how good he is on the racecourse.

“He’s a big, tall individual who was quite raw to begin with. In the outside school when we started, he could barely get round the bend and just in terms of giving him time, I’m delighted for the Eyre Family and it is their first winner here at Cheltenham.

“They have been patient and allowed us to take our time and ultimately he is a chaser, so what he is doing over hurdles is a bonus.”

Road to the Triumph starts now for Burdett

James Owen’s Burdett Road will look to consolidate his place at the head of the Triumph Hurdle market when he contests the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The four-year-old, a Royal Ascot winner last June, has made the perfect start to his hurdling career.

After winning his debut at Huntingdon by 12 lengths, he then claimed a similar contest to this by an easy six and a half lengths.

The form from that race has since been boosted by the subsequent success of the second-placed An Bradan Feasa, a comfortable winner when returning to Cheltenham in December.

Harry Cobden has ridden Burdett Road in both hurdling starts and will do so again at the weekend after partnering the gelding in a pleasing schooling session at home.

Burdett Road with connections after his last Cheltenham win
Burdett Road with connections after his last Cheltenham win (Nigel French/PA)

“We couldn’t be happier with him at home and he has schooled well. Harry was in on Thursday morning and schooled him and he did well and we’re looking forward to Saturday,” said Owen.

“This is a much tougher race (than before), there’s Sir Gino and we’ve got to give weight to the (JP) McManus horse that comes over from France (Milan Tino) and might improve. This is a lot tougher and should shed a lot of light on the Triumph Hurdle, it’s a trial and it should do.

“Hopefully we’re still favourite for the Triumph at 10 past 12 on Saturday.”

On choosing this race ahead of the Unibet Hurdle, the trainer added: “We made the decision just before declarations and if Harry was available in the Unibet, we were actually swaying that way with the allowances. But Harry was riding for Paul Nicholls in that, so it just made sense to stick amongst the juveniles where Harry was available.”

Nicky Henderson’s Sir Gino is also unbeaten over hurdles, with a French Listed success followed up by a 14-length Kempton win on his British debut in late December.

Sir Gino winning at Kempton
Sir Gino winning at Kempton (Adam Davy/PA)

“His jumping was far from perfect at Kempton, so he’s had plenty of practice in that department and is a person we like a lot,” said Henderson via his Unibet blog.

“This is a competitive race and Burdett Road has looked very good, therefore I should imagine whoever wins will likely be favourite for the Triumph.

“Sir Gino’s work has been very good, and he would be right up there with some of our previous good juveniles we’ve had down the years.”

Noel George and Amanda Zetterholm’s Milan Tino was third behind Burdett Road at Prestbury Park in November and will receive 5lb from the two aforementioned horses when he takes his chance under Jonjo O’Neill jr.

Harry Fry’s Gidleigh Park heads the market for the SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade Two event run over two miles and four and a half furlongs.

Gidleigh Park at Newbury
Gidleigh Park at Newbury (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Unbeaten in three under rules, his latest win was a nine-length Newbury triumph, his first attempt at a two-and-a-half-mile trip and a performance that inspired a step up in grade.

“We couldn’t have asked for any more than what he has done up until this point,” said Fry.

“We stepped him up in trip the last day and he showed improved form and now we are stepping up in grade, so he will have to progress again.

“We feel he is doing that at home and is maturing and progressing with his racing. It’s his first run at the track, but I don’t anticipate that giving him any problems and I’m hoping he can continue to progress as he has done so far and keep the dream alive.”

Jonjo O’Neill’s Johnnywho is a key rival, a McManus-owned gelding who was last seen finishing fourth when beaten two lengths in the Grade One Challow at Newbury.

“He’s come out of the Challow well and Jonjo was happy with him and hopefully he can come forward again and run a nice race,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus.

“He looks a nice staying horse and hopefully there is more to come.”

Paul Nicholls runs Isaac Des Obeaux, a six-year-old from the family of Clan Des Obeaux who won his last two outings at Chepstow by decent margins.

“He is taking on stronger opposition after bolting up twice in ordinary races at Chepstow,” the trainer said via Betfair.

“Positive tactics seem to suit Isaac Des Obeaux who stays well, is a decent prospect and should run another tidy race. He will be a lovely chaser in time.”

There is a valuable handicap over fences in the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase, with Nicholls set to saddle two short-priced contenders in Hitman and Il Ridoto.

The latter was narrowly beaten in the December Gold Cup over course and distance last time out and is the reigning champion in the contest having prevailed by a length 12 months ago.

“He seems to reserve his best for Cheltenham and won this race a year ago off a mark of 138,” the trainer said.

“He is now 10lb higher after a career best when he was just beaten in the last stride by Fugitif in the December Gold Cup after looking like the winner landing over the last fence with a clear lead.

Il Ridoto (right) winning at the meeting last season
Il Ridoto (right) winning at the meeting last season (David Davies/PA)

“Il Ridoto has been working beautifully at home, looks great and must have a strong chance.”

Hitman is the other runner, a horse Nicholls is hoping will improve for a wind operation.

He said: “We cauterised his palate after he ran below-par at Aintree late in October.

“He is in great shape now at home and if he runs like he did in the Ryanair Chase in March (third), he must have a live chance off a mark of 156 with Freddie Gingell taking off a valuable 5lb, but I have a feeling he might just improve a bit for the run.”

Fry pencils in Trials day date for Gidleigh Park

Gidleigh Park is set to get some valuable Cheltenham experience on his next start following his impressive victory at Newbury on Wednesday.

The Walk In The Park gelding looked an above-average prospect when dominating his rivals in a Chepstow bumper in the spring and has only given that theory more weight since being sent over hurdles.

Harry Fry’s charge made an excellent start to his jumping career at Exeter last month and doubled his tally in some style under a penalty, pulling upwards of nine lengths clear of his rivals.

Paddy Power trimmed Gidleigh Park’s odds for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival to 14-1 from 25s, and the five-year-old is set to get an early sighter of Prestbury Park on Trials day at the end of January.

“I was delighted with him as it’s another step up the ladder and more experience,” said Fry.

“All being well, he’ll now step up in grade at Cheltenham on Trials Day – there’s a a Grade Two novices’ hurdle for him there.

“It’s exciting that he’s progressing the way he is and long may it continue.

“We’ll keep asking the question and see if he’s up to it. We’ll take it a race at a time, but those races are there as stepping stones to the big spring festivals and hopefully he’ll justify his place.”

Harry Fry keen for Gidleigh Park to gain more experience

Harry Fry is keen to bolster Gidleigh Park’s experience following his impressive hurdling debut at Exeter.

The five-year-old was an emphatic winner of a Chepstow bumper on his rules introduction back in March, pulling six-lengths clear of Ben Pauling’s The Jukebox Man, who has since franked the form in good style on two separate occasions.

Making his first start over hurdles, Gidleigh Park confirmed the promise of that Chepstow romp with an equally taking display, jumping well and only needing to be pushed out by jockey Johnny Burke for a commanding seven-and-a-half-length triumph.

Although immediately cut by the bookmakers for Graded novice events at the Cheltenham Festival, his handler is in no rush to move into deeper waters and for now plans to seek out another novice event under a penalty.

“We were very happy and he seemed to confirm the promise of his racecourse debut last spring,” said Fry.

“It’s onwards and upwards as they say and we will look forward to getting him out in a month or so under a penalty and if that goes according to plan then we can start thinking about raising his sights.

“I think it’s about experience at the moment more than anything and I think we need to get another run in, in an ordinary novice, before we start thinking about going up in grade.”