Exciting Jonbon shines on hurdling debut

Jonbon established himself as a serious horse for the future when powering to a six-length success in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football National Hunt Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.

Plenty was expected of the full brother to Douvan and the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old did not disappoint.

Aidan Coleman settled Jonbon (10-11 favourite) early, but it did not take long for his slick hurdling to pull him to the front and he barely got out of second gear with an authoritative performance to beat Good Risk At All with ease.

So impressed were Paddy Power that the bookmakers slashed Jonbon to 3-1 favourite from 6-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Henderson said: “The point-to-points are amazing, because there are two-milers and slow horses who are very good. I had a horse called Get Real, who never got a yard over two miles and somehow, someone managed to hold him in a point-to-point.

“This is the same sort of thing. He is a full brother to Douvan, so it is not surprising he has plenty of boot. You see the benefit of a racecourse gallop – that is why he cantered around on his own. He was better today.

“He can get on his toes. I call him a fidget, but that’s why we get on quite well together. He doesn’t do anything wrong. He wants to be on his toes and he got a bit warm coming here, but it was great that it was Newbury, as it wasn’t too far to travel. But he will travel – he’ll have to.

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“We will take it step by step and see where we want to go. From JP’s (McManus), Aidan’s and AP’s (McCoy) point of view, he was only in second gear.”

He went on: “We had to teach him to drop the bit today and he dropped it really nicely, considering there was no gallop. He only got in front because he jumped his way there.”

Stage Star made it two from two over hurdles and justified 2-7 favouritism, making virtually all the running in the Watch Racing Free Online at Ladbrokes Novices’ Hurdle.

Harry Cobden’s mount never looked in any trouble as he set a modest gallop in the extended two-and-a-half-mile event and then strode out nicely, despite a minor error at the penultimate flight, to score by seven and a half lengths.

Unanswered Prayers briefly threatened to challenge, before readily being burned off.

Stage Star was subsequently cut to 14-1 (from 25-1) with Coral for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

With winning trainer Paul Nicholls absent, assistant Harry Derham was full of praise for the five-year-old son of Fame And Glory.

He said: “He has done everything right today, did it as we thought he would and we will probably come back here for the Challow Hurdle in December.

“He obviously had very good bumper form and he was always going to improve for jumping hurdles, the size of him.

“It is just a nice route to go. When you have a high-class bumper horse like that, we always wanted to have a couple of runs to go to the Challow and he’s done it right, albeit against opposition that he should have beaten. But we’ll come back for the Challow and find out a bit more about him.

“I don’t think winter ground will bother him that much. I don’t think any of our horses want deep ground, but good horses generally cope with most things.”

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