Cheltenham's Showcase meeting was the obvious highlight of a cracking weekend of National Hunt action and some impressive performers certainly enhanced their reputation by sparkling at Prestbury Park. However, there were also a notable display away from the Gloucestershire venue which feature in our weekly jumping round-up, whilst Nicky Henderson was dealt a major blow for the season.
The New One Eases To Comeback Victory
Sam Twiston-Davies bagged a treble at Kempton Park on Sunday afternoon, but his obvious highlight was piloting The New One to a facile victory in the Listed williamhill.com Hurdle and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained raider cemented his place in the higher echelons of the 2015 Champion Hurdle betting. Last year's Champion Hurdle third stalked the leaders for most of the race before he was eased to the front between the last two flights of hurdles. He clipped the top bar of the final obstacle, but maintained his momentum and Twiston-Davies eased him clear on the level to record a comfortable two-and-a-quarter length win to kick off his campaign on a winning note.
My Tent Or Yours Ruled Out For The Season
Nicky Henderson was forced to rule out star seven-year-old My Tent Or Yours for the season, as the Champion Hurdle runner-up has suffered a tendon injury and the Seven Barrows inmate will not be seen on a racecourse all campaign. He was a prominent figure for the Champion Hurdle, having just been touched off by Jezki in last year's epic race, but whilst some pondered whether he would be sent over a fence this year, it emerged at the latter part of the week that the JP McManus-owned gelding had suffered a setback and would remain on the sidelines.
Johns Spirit Trimmed For Paddy Power Gold Cup
Jonjo O'Neill had a terrific Showcase meeting at Cheltenham over the weekend and he saw Johns Spirit bagged back-to-back victories in the Marie Curie Cancer Care Handicap Chase on Saturday afternoon. The seven-year-old bagged success in this race 12 months ago before going on to edge out Colour Squadron in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Jackdaws Castle inmate was trimmed by the bookmakers to repeat the feat this year and shine at the Open meeting next month.
Vautour And Un De Sceaux Set For Chasing Campaign
Willie Mullins has an embarrassment of riches heading into the new National Hunt campaign and the Co. Carlow handler gave an in-depth look to his stable plans this season and there were a host of insightful views on some of his star performers. He indicated that impressive Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Vautour is to embark on a novice chasing campaign, whilst ultra-progressive hurdler Un De Sceaux is also set for a tilt over the larger obstacles and both could be Arkle Challenge Trophy bound come March if excelling.
Sprinter Sacre 'Fantastic' In Schooling Session
In the wake of the news of My Tent Of Yours being out for the season, Nicky Henderson was ebullient about the return of Sprinter Sacre, who has been off the track since he was pulled up at Kempton Park in Desert Orchid Chase over the festive period. Henderson described the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner as having put in a "fantastic" schooling session and "went like a bullet" when put over six fixed brush hurdles, so he is all set for a season that will culminate with a potentially mouth-watering clash with Sire De Grugy in the Champion Chase come March.