Claimantakinforgan wins Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Ascot

Claimantakinforgan (right)
Claimantakinforgan (right)

Claimantakinforgan ran out an impressive winner of the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.

A winner at short odds on his first start over timber at Newbury in November, Nicky Henderson's horse took this step up to Grade Two company in his stride, to the delight of those who'd backed him into favouritism at 6/4.

Nico De Boinville settled his mount in mid-division and was briefly short of room as the race began to take shape turning in, where Slate House lost his front-running position and was soon beaten.

Claimantakinforgan showed a nice turn of foot to first hold his position and then take aim at new leader Dr Des, before his rider asked him to go and put the race to bed.

Without having been fully extended, the winner scored by two-and-a-quarter lengths from 16/1 shot Dr Des who was never far away, with Theclockisticking third having been held up.

Mr One More and Couer Blimey both made mistakes down the far side and while the latter did move into contention two out, those errors eventually took their toll.

Henderson said: "We are on the right road and going the right way. Him and Altior have got one similarity and that is the grey in the top of their tails.

"I'm pleased as that is not his ground and he has got gears and he is a two-mile horse.

"We will be looking down the Supreme road. He has got some scope. He has got a very good head on him and he is a very good jumper. He has got a good racing brain on him.

"He was a baby last year and that is why we left him down the bumper division. He was a point-to-pointer and you could have gone hurdling with him but I said to the owners 'this horse wants minding'.

"His hurdling was very slick all the way and he was racing nicely all the way.

"The Dovecote (Kempton, February 24) is probably a good place for him. I don't think he needs to do to much more as he is very sharp and quick."

Sky Bet, who are non-runner, no bet on the Supreme which kicks off the Cheltenham Festival, cut the winner from 14/1 to 10/1 and offer 14/1 from 20/1 for the Ballymore.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "We've seen some classy horses win this race in the past and Claimantakinforgan may well prove himself to be another.

"Two miles looks his trip on this evidence and he ran a great race in last year's Champion Bumper, so with few standout candidates having emerged for the Sky Bet Supreme, he must be a player at this point."

Henry Oliver was thrilled with the performance of Dr Des.

He said: "He has run a lovely race. As Tom (O'Brien) said, he is not completely straightforward, the other horse (Slate House) has taken him on a bit and he has took a bit of time to warm up.

"Tom has got him into a nice position down the hill and he has held his ground well. He has shown he is a 140 (rated) horse. We are probably going to go low-key next time."

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