Tag Archive for: Under Control

Morebattle favourite has everything Under Control

Under Control can put herself in line for a £100,000 bonus when she heads to Kelso for the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old signed off last season by downing stablemate – and subsequent Greatwood and Betfair Hurdle winner – Iberico Lord at Sandown and although misfiring when favourite for the Gerry Feilden in November, she bounced back to form when second to Ashroe Diamond in a Doncaster Grade Two in January.

She holds a plethora of entries for the Cheltenham Festival and has the chance to scoop the sponsor’s six-figure incentive on offer if following up victory in the Scottish Borders at Prestbury Park later this month.

Under Control winning at Sandown last season
Under Control winning at Sandown last season (Steven Paston/PA)

That was something achieved by The Shunter in the very first year this race was run as a handicap and although set to carry a hefty weight burden, Under Control rates as one of the classiest operators in the field.

“She ran a blinder at Doncaster and was beaten by a good mare there,” said owner JP McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry.

“Nicky has been very happy with her and although she has a lot of weight to carry, we are hoping for a good run. She did well to get back to Doncaster and run well and everything has gone well since.”

On the bonus, he added: “We’ll work it (Cheltenham) out after Saturday, once we’ve seen how she goes. If she doesn’t run well on Saturday, she will have no business going anywhere else.”

Benson provided Sandy Thomson with a popular local victory in this contest 12 months ago and, having advertised his well-being since the turn of the year, is another aiming not just for back-to-back Morebattle triumphs, but to tee-up a second shot at the Cheltenham bonus.

“His last two runs have been really good and two miles at Musselburgh last time would be sharp enough for him,” said Thomson.

“Obviously, he has a lot of weight to carry, but he seems well and he carried that weight at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, so we will go and give it a shot.

“He was very new to us last season and we know a lot more about him now – and hopefully we have trained him accordingly. Whether we get the same result (as last year), who knows? But we’re very happy with where we have him.”

Plenty of this year’s Morebattle contenders arrive looking to extend a winning run – including the hat-trick-seeking pair of Kerry Lee’s Black Hawk Eagle and Donald McCain’s Geromino.

However, they still have some way to go to match James Moffatt’s Bingoo, who arrives at Kelso unbeaten in three and rapidly climbing the ranks.

“He’s in good order with himself,” said Moffatt. “We’re dropping back in trip a bit, but hopefully there is a very strong gallop up in front, which we should get – I think there’s three or four front-runners in it.

“We’re just going to take our chance and it’s well worth a punt at that sort of prize-money.”

Another in good order is Dr Richard Newland and Jamie Insole’s Rewired, who has followed up some encouraging performances last term by winning both outings this season.

Newland believes now is the time to give his charge a shot at a valuable prize and said: “He’s done really well and certainly seems in a very good place.

“He came out of his race at Taunton well and is in good form and we’re very happy with him.

“He possibly doesn’t want too much rain, but I just thought he deserved a chance at a slightly better race, really. The owners are excited and we are excited to have a go at it.

“I think if you had asked me if we would be going for this off this mark, I wouldn’t have been as confident, but he’s become a very sharp, quick hurdler and that is helping him. Let’s hope there is more to come.”

Skycutter got off the mark for new trainer Dan Skelton at Carlisle last month and will bid to go two places better than the stable’s L’Eau Du Sud did 12 months ago, while Brian Ellison won this with Cormier two years ago and will saddle Scottish Champion Hurdle fifth Salsada, who returns from 315 days off.

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Under Control has Newbury covered in stylish winning debut

Bigger things can be expected from Under Control having made a winning debut for Nicky Henderson at Newbury.

A winner at Fontainebleau in her only previous start, the four-year-old was sent off 5-4 favourite for her UK bow in the BetVictor Proud Sponsors Of Newbury Juvenile Hurdle.

Her victory was one half of a double on the day for Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville – who also landed the concluding Byerley Stud Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle with Spring Note (5-2).

Owned by JP McManus, Under Control travelled with real enthusiasm throughout before putting the race to bed with minimal fuss, De Boinville motionless in the saddle as she delivered a four-and-a-half-length verdict.

The master of Seven Barrows was quick to to rule out an appearance in the Ryanair Mares’ Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but admitted Aintree’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle is a possibility.

“I was delighted with her, it was an impressive performance,” said Henderson.

“She’s only had one run in her life and I didn’t know what to expect. She’s not a great big filly and we haven’t had her very long. Her jumping needed a bit of educating, but she’s very straight and I thought she was good today. It was a very nice debut.

“She jumped beautifully. We actually schooled her this morning before we went to the races – Nico came and gave her a pop in the indoor school because it has taken her a bit of time to get the hang of it and it did her good actually.

Under Control ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville wins the BetVictor Proud Sponsors Of Newbury Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury Racecourse
Under Control ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville wins the BetVictor Proud Sponsors Of Newbury Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury Racecourse (John Walton/PA)

“She’s not going to go to Cheltenham, but it’s not to say we won’t think about Aintree – mainly because hopefully all the good Irish horses will stay at home and go to Punchestown!

“I’m not saying she’s a superstar because she has got a very long way to go, but it was a very pleasing debut.”

A trip to Merseyside is also on the cards for Ben Pauling’s Twig (4-9 favourite) who dropped back in both grade and trip to record victory in the BetVictor Proud Sponsors Of Newbury Juvenile Hurdle.

“In my eyes he is definitely a three-miler, but the River Don was a really rough race – he was among the thick of it the whole way,” explained Pauling.

“He’s a horse that doesn’t overly love the hustle and bustle of a race like that and he needs to be treated with kid gloves a little bit.

“I was delighted to see him back on track and also see Doncaster hadn’t left a mark. He did it nicely, American Sniper set us a good target and there was going to be no hiding place – I thought Beau (Morgan, jockey) gave him a lovely ride and produced him to win nicely.

“He will probably go to Aintree – whether he runs in the three-mile handicap or the three mile novice (Sefton Novices’ Hurdle) I don’t know yet, but Aintree will probably be his target.”

Emitom made a successful start to life in the care of Alan King in the Play Pick 6 At BetVictor Handicap Hurdle.

Emitom ridden by jockey Tom Cannon on their way to winning the Play Pick 6 at Betvictor Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) at Newbury Racecourse
Emitom ridden by jockey Tom Cannon on their way to winning the Play Pick 6 at Betvictor Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) at Newbury Racecourse (John Walton/PA)

Runner-up in the Sefton and winner of the Rendlesham Hurdle when trained by Warren Greatrex, he had somewhat lost his way of late. But a change of scenery appears to have worked the oracle and the nine-year-old rolled back the years in style to oblige at 100-30 in the hands of Tom Cannon.

“I was delighted today,” said King. “All we have done is give him a change of scenery and freshen him up.

“I thought coming to the races today he would either win or pull up and nothing in between, but he seems to have enjoyed himself.

“There’s no plans, all we’re going to do is go home and regroup – I’m not going to get excited or overface him. It’s great today, but let’s not get carried away.”

There was also a double on the card for jockey Ben Ffrench Davis who took the opening A-Plan Insurance Supporting West Berkshire Mencap Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle aboard Sashenka (4-1) before adding the West Berkshire Mencap Handicap Chase on William de Best-Turner’s Calgary Tiger (13-8 joint favourite).

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