Tag Archive for: Porticello

Porticello heading on summer break after Festival outing

Exciting juvenile hurdler Porticello will bypass the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals and be roughed off for next season, according to trainer Gary Moore.

The Sholokov gelding went into the JCB Triumph Hurdle as the joint top-rated British-trained runner in a race that was dominated by Irish-based horses, yet he finished sixth to Vauban, the first of the British contingent.

Moore said: “It was good to see that he was the best of the English horses. But we knew it was going to be a difficult test.

“We will put him away now for the rest of the season and hopefully he will do well over the summer and grow into that frame he has got to fill.”

Gary’s son and jockey, Jamie Moore, added: “Porticello ran well, but he simply wasn’t good enough.

“I am pretty sure he won’t go chasing next year. He will probably go two-and-a-half-mile hurdling and take it from there.

“We will mind him a bit as we want him to be a six or seven-year-old three-mile chaser. That’s the dream anyway.”

Ground key to Gary Moore’s Triumph Hurdle plans

Gary Moore has reaffirmed he will not risk Porticello should the ground be good or faster for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday week.

However, Moore will definitely run the Finale Junior Hurdle victor if the ground is at least good to soft for the four-year-old championship, in which he has another contender in the shape of Teddy Blue.

“If I have to run them both I will do. It’s not something I want to do, but they are both entitled to be there,” Moore told Racing TV.

“The only way I wouldn’t run Porticello is if the ground came up good or quicker, but it’s good to soft, or softer, then he’ll definitely run.

“I would really love to run him. (But) he’s too nice to mess up round there.”

Conversely, Moore has warned Teddy Blue would miss the race if conditions were testing.

“If it’s heavy he won’t go there but it probably won’t be heavy. There are 10 days to go and a lot can happen in a horse’s life,” the West Sussex trainer added.

Goshen could head for Aintree after Kingwell heroics

Gary Moore may give Goshen one more chance to show he can handle a left-handed track after his gutsy success at Wincanton on Saturday.

The six-year-old held Adagio by a length and three-quarters to make all the running and win the Kingwell Hurdle for the second year running.

With Cheltenham not on the agenda for Goshen, the Betway Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles in April is an option along with right-handed Punchestown, where he was fifth to Honeysuckle in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle last spring.

“He proved when he went round Lingfield the other day he wanted to go right-handed,” Moore told Sky Sports Racing.

“When you ride him out at home and go down a left-handed canter he just goes right. He did it at Haydock on the Flat. It’s just a little quirk in his head. I will have to try just once more probably at Liverpool otherwise his season is nearly over unless he goes back to Punchestown, but does he really need to take on the mare (Honeysuckle)? It’s going to be hard.

“When he’s going right-handed there are not many better horses around. We have to play it by ear and work out a way to make him go straight.”

Moore has been heartened by the public support of the horse – who had the Triumph Hurdle at his mercy in 2020 only to unseat Jamie Moore at the final flight – and is looking forward to trying him over two and a half miles.

“He’s a little bit the people’s horse now. The cheer there apparently was very good. I watched the race from Ascot and there were more people shouting for him from there than what I expected,” said the West Sussex handler.

“I have got 100 per cent faith in the horse and he never lets me down.

“That was the first time he’s ever got into a punch-up when he’s had to dig deep. I didn’t know how much he would find, he probably didn’t find a great deal but he’s strong and he has stamina.

“He does want two and half miles now. On a stiffer track I think you’d see a bit better horse. The one good thing about him was he had to dig deep. He’s had three races in a short space of time and two hard traces before yesterday and that shows what guts he’s got.”

Porticello could be heading for the Triumph Hurdle is the ground is on the soft side
Porticello could be heading for the Triumph Hurdle is the ground is on the soft side (David Davies/PA)

Cheltenham is on the agenda for stablemate Porticello, as long as the ground is suitable, following his easy victory in the Victor Ludorum Hurdle at Haydock.

“The Triumph is the plan for him as long as the ground is no drier than good to soft. Good ground would probably be too quick for him,” said Moore.

“The track would suit him because you need to stay there. It would never come up like it did at Haydock, but if it came up on the soft side then he would definitely go there.”

Daly hails Haydock hero Hillcrest following impressive verdict

Henry Daly’s giant Hillcrest galloped his rivals into submission and halved in price for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham next month after winning the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock.

Having unseated Richard Patrick at Cheltenham last time out, losing his unbeaten record over hurdles in the process, Daly was looking for a confidence booster.

Sent off the even-money favourite, Hillcrest set out to make the running but he had Venetia Williams’ Green Book, his main market rival, for company.

The pair pulled 10 lengths clear at one stage but Green Book had cracked before the turn for home leaving Nicky Richards’ Crystal Glory as the sole danger, however, Hillcrest powered away after the last to win by eight lengths.

Daly said: “Having watched that, if he goes to Cheltenham it will be the Albert Bartlett. That’s if he goes, we could wait for Aintree, he won’t do both.

“I don’t actually think he’s had a particularly hard slog today, he’s the only one all day who has pulled away and run through the line.

“They went a really good gallop, I was watching the times on the screen and wincing. He didn’t jump great but Richard said he was more interested in watching the other horse.

“There’s no getting away from it, he’s a proper horse. I’ve said all along at this stage of his career he’s the best I’ve had.

“He doesn’t show it at home, he just gallops, like he does on the racecourse, but he can clearly gallop quite fast!”

Porticello had little trouble in landing short odds in the William Hill Super Odds Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock.

Should conditions turn up testing at Cheltenham next month, then Gary Moore’s giant four-year-old could serve it up to the Irish-trained favourites and Coral saw fit to cut him to 11-1 from 16s for the Triumph.

Already a Grade One winner at Chepstow, Porticello was sent off the 30-100 favourite and Josh Moore kept things simple.

Approaching the second last Skycutter was the only danger but when he met the flight on the wrong stride and Porticello flew it, the race was over and he coasted to a 17-length win.

Josh Moore said: “I just thought I’d keep it simple and use his jumping and he’s done that well.

“He handles that ground as well as any horse can, down the back it’s a bit better but up the straight it’s very holding and not the nicest.

“The Triumph will depend how he comes out of this and what the ground is like, if he’s to run there he’d want plenty of ease, I would say.”

The jockey missed a large chunk of the season through injury and was only on Porticello as his brother Jamie was required to ride Goshen at Wincanton.

“He’s actually Jamie’s ride but I enjoyed riding him today, he’s a pleasure,” he said.

“The rides usually sort themselves out without much fuss but I’ve missed most of this season and it just happened to be my dad’s best ever, so Jamie has reaped the benefit”

Tom Lacey and Stan Sheppard’s good recent run continued when Adrimel carried top weight to victory in the William Hill Cheltenham Non-Runner Money Back Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Just seven days on from winning the Betfair Hurdle with Glory And Fortune, Adrimel was made to work hard by Shaman Du Berlais to land short odds as the 4-6 favourite, eventually prevailing by a neck.

“On this ground he could probably drop back in trip because he handles it so well,” said Lacey.

“Stan said he just got lonely out in front and it is very hard work today, so any horse was entitled to get tired.

“I think he’s better than a handicapper but he’s a horse you’ve got to catch right. We’ve not had any setbacks but the races just haven’t been there to suit him and we’ve had to wait for some softer ground. He’s not been an easy horse to place in a dry winter.”

Dr Richard Newland’s Foillan (10-1) registered his third victory of the campaign in the Pertemps Qualifier, but may now be done for the season.

“He’s won three now this year, having missed the whole of last season, but he’s had a hard race there and it could be enough for him. He’s one to look forward to chasing next year,” said Newland.

Porticello underlines Triumph claims with Haydock stroll

Porticello had little trouble in landing short odds in the William Hill Super Odds Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock.

Should conditions turn up testing at Cheltenham next month, then Gary Moore’s giant four-year-old could serve it up to the Irish-trained favourites and Coral saw fit to cut him to 11-1 from 16s for the Triumph.

Already a Grade One winner at Chepstow, Porticello was sent off the 30-100 favourite and Josh Moore kept things simple.

Approaching the second last Skycutter was the only danger but when he met the flight on the wrong stride and Porticello flew it, the race was over and he coasted to a 17-length win.

Josh Moore said: “I just thought I’d keep it simple and use his jumping and he’s done that well.

“He handles that ground as well as any horse can, down the back it’s a bit better but up the straight it’s very holding and not the nicest.

“The Triumph will depend how he comes out of this and what the ground is like, if he’s to run there he’d want plenty of ease, I would say.”

The jockey missed a large chunk of the season through injury and was only on Porticello as his brother Jamie was required to ride Goshen at Wincanton.

“He’s actually Jamie’s ride but I enjoyed riding him today, he’s a pleasure,” he said.

“The rides usually sort themselves out without much fuss but I’ve missed most of this season and it just happened to be my dad’s best ever, so Jamie has reaped the benefit”

Tom Lacey and Stan Sheppard’s good recent run continued when Adrimel carried top weight to victory in the William Hill Cheltenham Non-Runner Money Back Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Just seven days on from winning the Betfair Hurdle with Glory And Fortune, Adrimel was made to work hard by Shaman Du Berlais to land short odds as the 4-6 favourite, eventually prevailing by a neck.

“On this ground he could probably drop back in trip because he handles it so well,” said Lacey.

“Stan said he just got lonely out in front and it is very hard work today, so any horse was entitled to get tired.

“I think he’s better than a handicapper but he’s a horse you’ve got to catch right. We’ve not had any setbacks but the races just haven’t been there to suit him and we’ve had to wait for some softer ground. He’s not been an easy horse to place in a dry winter.”

Dr Richard Newland’s Foillan (10-1) registered his third victory of the campaign in the Pertemps Qualifier, but may now be done for the season.

“It’s funny, we thought we had a chance in the National Trial with Enqarde but he was never going, yet I wasn’t expecting this lad to win,” said Newland.

“He’s won three now this year, having missed the whole of last season, but he’s had a hard race there and it could be enough for him. He’s one to look forward to chasing next year.”

Porticello on course for Triumph prep at Haydock

Gary Moore says Triumph Hurdle hope Porticello worked well ahead of Saturday’s tilt at the William Hill Super Odds Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock.

Winner of three of his four starts over hurdles, he took the Grade One Finale Hurdle at Chepstow on his last run over Christmas.

Currently a 10-1 chance with Hills and Sky Bet for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, making him the shortest British-trained contender for the race, the Horsham handler is hopeful the Olly Harris-owned four-year-old will pass his prep run with flying colours.

“It is all systems go for Saturday,” said Moore on Tuesday.

“He galloped good this morning. I was very pleased with him. As long as everything is all right for the rest of the week, then he goes on Saturday.

“I’m expecting him to run very well. I hope so, anyway.

“The ground is going to be what he wants up there and it looks like there will be a bit of pace in the race, so fingers crossed.”

Sandown and Haydock options for Finale scorer Porticello

Porticello is not likely to be seen out until February following his Grade One triumph in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

Gary Moore’s charge, who is a top-priced 14-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, will bypass Trials’ Day there on January 29.

The Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock is one of his options the following month.

“He’s come out of the Chepstow race very well. We just have to see what we do now. There are two or three options and you won’t see him until February at least,” said Moore.

“He won’t go to Cheltenham for Trials Day. He’ll either go for a race at Sandown or otherwise he’ll go for the Victor Ludorum.

“He won’t go to Kempton for the Adonis. It might have him on his head round there. It’s a fast track and he wants a stiff two miles rather than an easy two.”

Editeur Du Gite, who carries the colours of 2014 winner Sire De Grugy, has been given an entry in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Moore will run Editeur Du Gite in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury next month to see if he is a genuine contender for the two-mile championship.

Editeur Du Gite has been given an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
Editeur Du Gite has been given an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (David Davies/PA)

The eight-year-old, owned by the Preston Family and Friends, has to step up in grade after winning two handicaps at Cheltenham on his most recent outings.

“We had to make the entry because if you’re not in it you can’t win it. It’s very ambitious, I’m well aware of that but the entries closed on Tuesday so we had to put him in,” said the West Sussex handler.

“He’s now out of handicaps so what do we do? He’ll run in the Game Spirit at Newbury then hopefully if he runs well there we’ll decide whether he’s good enough to go to Cheltenham or save him for Liverpool.

“It’s the Sire De Grugy owners so you don’t know what could happen with them!”

Porticello shines in Finale Hurdle

Porticello turned what looked a strong renewal of the Grade One Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle into a procession at Chepstow.

With stamina the emphasis on rain-softened soft ground and with the final hurdle omitted, leaving a three-furlong run-in, it proved tough going for many of the 11 runners.

Yet the Gary Moore-trained Porticello, who had finished runner-up to Knight Salute in a muddling Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster, jumped to the front at the penultimate flight and drew readily clear to give the Horsham yard their first Grade One success over hurdles.

His hurdling, which had been a little indifferent at Doncaster, was better here, although he made a slight mistake of the fourth of the seven flights of hurdles under Jamie Moore.

The strapping son of Sholokhov was keen early on, and his rider did well to hang on to him. After settling him, he got into a good rhythm and readily drew clear after jumping the penultimate flight.

The 100-30 chance had eight and a half lengths to spare from Saint Segal, with Forever William a further three-quarters of a length back in third.

The 9-4 favourite Forever Blessed was pulled up before the penultimate flight with Sean Bowen’s saddle having slipped when he did well to stay aboard after being squeezed for room on the rail approaching three out.

Porticello shone under Jamie Moore
Porticello shone under Jamie Moore (David Davies/PA)

The winning jockey told Sky Sports Racing: “I can’t believe dad hasn’t had a Grade One hurdle winner to be honest. We have hit the crossbar a few times.

“I was not mad about running him today due to the quick back-up from Doncaster, but dad and Ollie Harris, the owner, were keen to have a go and it has proved the right call.

“He is a lovely big horse and I just thought we could mind him a bit this year, but they are here to race and we’ve won a Grade One, so we will all enjoy that.

“When he is in tight, he smashes through the hurdles, but he will be better when he jumps a fence.”

Moore added: “I got a nice position and we had quite a smooth run around. When he hit the front, he was having a bit of a look around and he was probably looking for another hurdle.

“He will be better when he is a five- or six-year-old, as he is a chaser. He has gone on that ground today, but he is equally effective on good ground. I mucked up at Doncaster, as I went too slow on him. If I had gone hard at Doncaster, I might not have had a horse for today, though.”

Moore senior said: “It was a good performance, but a lot of things were in his favour today, which helped. But he can only do what he has done.

“He is a big horse and the hurdles just get in the way. He doesn’t treat them with much respect.

“As for another run, it depends if we go to Cheltenham or not. It is not the be all and end all for me. He is big horse with a future, but we’ll see how he comes out of the race today.

“Jamie was not keen on running him. He’s such an expert for telling me not to run!

“I wouldn’t know when or where he runs next, whether it is the Victor Ludorum, as he needs the experience, I don’t know what else there is for him.

“He is horse that is one for the future. I wouldn’t put him away, as they are a long time in the stable.

“Apparently this is my first Grade One win over hurdles. What a crap trainer – I’m 65 years of age and that is my first Grade One over hurdles!”

Moore considers Christmas Hurdle bid for Goshen

Goshen could take on the likes of Epatante, Sceau Royal and last year’s winner Silver Streak in a potentially mouth-watering Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Winner of the Kingwell Hurdle last season, Goshen threw away any chance in the Champion Hurdle in March when hanging badly to his right, and was beaten 11 lengths by Buzz on his return to action in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

The five-year-old has been pleasing the Horsham trainer, who is mulling over the possibility of jumping back into Grade One company with the Stephen Packham-owned gelding.

The stands promise to be packed at Kempton Park on Boxing Day
The stands promise to be packed at Kempton Park on Boxing Day (Tony Harris/PA)

Moore said: “He is in the Ascot Betfair Exchange Trophy, if that is viable. He might go there, or otherwise he will go for the Christmas Hurdle, providing the ground is soft.

“It is a case of wait and see. If he goes to Ascot he will have a lot of weight, but if it was soft ground there, that wouldn’t worry me. To see him at his best, he is very ground dependent.”

Porticello, who made an impressive British debut when giving 5lb and upwards to his rivals in the Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby, is set to head north again for his second run.

As low as 16-1 with Paddy Power for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, a clash with the exciting Knight Salute, who landed the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham, could be on the cards.

Moore explained: “We are leaning towards the Grade Two Summit Hurdle at Doncaster with Porticello. He is in good form, and has been been working well.”

Meanwhile, Moore has pencilled in a trip to Cheltenham for Nassalam, who was a somewhat fortunate winner at Newbury on Friday.

He said: “Nassalam didn’t have a race at Newbury. He is very, very well.

“I’d still be wandering around the smaller places trying to find him an easier race than the one he had – and he’s gone and won a decent race!

“He does have a 10lb penalty now and he will either go for the Dipper or, if it was soft, he will go to Plumpton. There is a race for him the week after next or there is one just before Christmas.”

Porticello puts down juvenile marker at Wetherby

Porticello towered over his rivals in the paddock and proved their superior in the finish as he bagged Listed honours on his British debut in the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby.

Gary Moore’s imposing new recruit had to concede 5lb and upwards all round as the winner of a conditions hurdle at Auteuil six months ago.

But despite some awkward leaps en route, the slightly uneasy 6-4 favourite made light of his task to prevail by almost four lengths from Genuflex.

Jamie Moore, riding for his father, had Porticello in behind but close to a moderate pace before forging to the front in the straight and then repelling a packed field of challengers spread across the track from two out.

The form of his Auteuil victory was well-advertised when the runner-up in that race, Magistrato, also made a winning British debut at Chepstow this month.

After Porticello’s victory in a race which often pinpoints a contender for major juvenile prizes later in the season, the winning jockey admitted that – in this case – he is optimistic about even longer-term prospects.

“He’s given weight away to winners in a Listed race, so you’ve got to be happy with the performance,” said Moore.

“He’s still a bit of a baby, so I’m hoping he’ll progress from here.”

Porticello already has the appearance of a future chaser, although he remains 16-1 favourite with Paddy Power for the Triumph Hurdle at next year’s Cheltenham Festival .

Moore added: “He’s a big, strong lad. He just took time to acclimatise during the race today.

“When he was in tight he was a bit messy over his hurdles.

“Maybe in time a fence might just suit him, (and) he’ll bend his back a bit more.

“I’ll see where dad and (owner) Ollie (Harris) want to go next. I’m sure they’ll have a plan for him – but he’ll probably be more of a four- or five-year-old type.”

Moore needed to be strong in the saddle as Porticello knuckled down well after the last, and the jockey received a two-day suspension from the stewards for using his whip above the permitted level.

Josh Moore is recovering after his back operation
Josh Moore is recovering after his back operation (Nigel French/PA)

He had an update, meanwhile, on his brother Josh – who is recovering from a back operation following his fall at Plumpton this month.

“He came out (of hospital) last night,” said Moore, who suffered a similar injury himself last year and was out of action for three months.

“He’s over the worst of it – it’s a long road to recovery, but he works hard in his recoveries.

“He’s used to it these days, and it’s great that he got home.”

Porticello faces Listed test on British debut at Wetherby

Gary Moore’s French import Porticello must concede weight all round in the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby.

A winner of a valuable Auteuil event for his former trainer David Cottin,  Porticello beat Magistrato – who has since joined Paul Nicholls and was an easy winner at Chepstow on his British debut.

Moore, sending a rare runner north at this stage of the season from his Sussex base, will certainly know where he stands after Friday’s Listed contest.

“Porticello is a great, big horse and I can’t believe he was able to win at Auteuil in April as a three-year-old,” said Moore.

“He goes nicely, although he would not be the flashiest work horse. Hopefully, he shows more on the racecourse than he does at home.

“He was pretty expensive, and the form of his win in France obviously looks pretty good. I just hope he lives up to his reputation.”

Donald McCain’s Sacre Pierre is already a dual winner. After his promising successes at Uttoxeter and Cartmel, he is the only runner in the field to have won twice over hurdles.

Donald McCain has his string in great form
Donald McCain has his string in great form (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The ground won’t bother him if it rains – whatever it is, he’ll be fine,” said McCain.

“He’s grand. He’s only a little fella, there’s no point trying to carry more penalties. I don’t know if he’s up to this standard or not, but we may as well find out.

“He’s still a little bit immature. He’s been running a bit green, but if you’ve got a juvenile that wins a couple early doors this is the obvious place to go.

“He didn’t cost much, so to be running in a Listed race at this stage of the season is nice for his owners.

“He’s a straightforward little horse who would probably appreciate a fairer track like Wetherby.”

Dan Skelton’s Too Friendly and Alan King’s Oceanline meet again here, with the latter having a length and a quarter to find from their run at Stratford this month.

Ahoy Senor (right) is slated to make his chasing debut
Ahoy Senor (right) is slated to make his chasing debut (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Genuflex, Keepyourdreamsbig, Addosh and course-and-distance winner Battle Angel complete the eight.

There is a very interesting novice chase on the card – which sees Paul Nicholls’ Barbados Buck’s, rated 143 over hurdles, clash with Lucinda Russell’s Grade One winner Ahoy Senor.

The latter has already missed one intended engagement this season because of quick ground, so Russell will be praying the forecast overnight rain falls.

A second Listed event on the card is the Cash Out At bet365 Handicap Chase – with Nicholls’ Magic Saint set to carry top weight on his first outing since a wind operation.

The Big Bite has always gone well fresh
The Big Bite has always gone well fresh (Nigel French/PA)

Bobby Renton winner Whoshotthesherrif is back over the same course and distance – and Henry Oliver holds high hopes for The Big Bite, who goes well fresh.

“The Big Bite has had a similar preparation to this time last year and wouldn’t be far off where he was before winning at Aintree,” said Oliver.

“Johnny (Burke, jockey) schooled him last week and he jumped lovely. He goes well fresh, and I would be very hopeful of a big run.

“This trip around Wetherby for a first start of the season will be absolutely ideal, although we have it in our minds to try him over further this season.

“We felt it was worth giving him an entry in the Ladbrokes Trophy, just to keep our options open, and we’ll see how things unfold.”