Messire Des Obeaux and Daryl Jacob clear the last in front
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony McFadden 1:54PM 31 DEC 2016
Report: Newbury, Saturday
Betfred Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4½f, 4yo+
MESSIRE DES OBEAUX put up a professional performance under Daryl Jacob to win this Grade 1 novice hurdle for trainer Alan King.
The 100-30 second favourite was always travelling strongly and won with a degree of authority, passing the post two lengths clear of Irish raider Baltazar D’Allier.
The race changed complexion at the third last when 7-4 favourite Robin Roe crashed out when still holding every chance. Both Robin Roe and jockey Harry Skelton were reported to be okay immediately after the fall, although Robin Roe was later found to have cracked a bone in his knee.
Messire Des Obeaux was top on official ratings having successfully conceded 7lb to Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy at Sandown last time, and King felt the experience gained from that hard-fought win was to the horse’s advantage.
“He travelled very well. The last time was the first time he had to battle and he’s really learned from that,” King said. “I’m delighted with him today. It seemed an awful long way from the last but he’s held on. I thought he’d run well.”
Messire Des Obeaux is now a top price of 14-1 (from 20-1) for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, while he was also trimmed by most firms for the 3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the same meeting.
Both races may come under consideration as King added: “He’ll definitely get three miles but we don’t need to be in a rush. He travels very well. I hope he’s got a big future.”
The top-level win was a welcome one for Jacob, who saw a Grade 1 slip through his grasp at Kempton on Boxing Day when Might Bite fell at the last in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
The jockey, who rides for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, feels that Messire Des Obeaux has the credentials to make an impact against the very best of the division at the festival.
“He’s a nice type and is getting better all the time. He’s a good, strong traveller and that’s exactly what you need for a Cheltenham horse. We’ve plenty of of exciting horses, but he’s doing very well,” Jacob said.
Baltazar D’Allier ran with credit for a horse making just his second start under rules and trainer Gordon Elliott views the runner-up as an exciting long-term prospect.
“He’s a big, weak horse and I don’t imagine you’ll see an awful lot of him this season – he’s a horse for next term. Barry [Geraghty, jockey] said he was nice but inexperienced,” he said.