Favour And Fortune shows his class when winning Scottish Champion Hurdle

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April 21

While all the talk at Ayr on Saturday was justifiably about Willie Mullins, whose incredible four-timer virtually seals his first British trainers championship, we at Barbury were lauding our latest equine superstar in Favour And Fortune, who heads off for his summer holiday with Alan and the Trevor Hemmings team rubbing their hands in anticipation as they look ahead to next season after he won the Scottish Champion Hurdle like a class horse.

It was Favour And Fortune’s first run in a handicap, and he had to dig deep after the final flight to see off the challenge of the Mullins-trained Bialystok.

However, right up to off time Alan was ‘walking his box’ wondering whether he had done the right thing in running Favour And Fortune on soft ground, which he has done his level best to avoid all winter.

Alan said:”Since mid-December I have been saying I want to run Favour And Fortune on a decent surface as he is such a good-actioned horse. We think he is very smart and he has been running very well in the soft all season, including when finishing sixth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, where he nearly fell at the first, yet was still beaten less than 10 lengths.

“Fortunately, the weather in Scotland improved through the week, and Favour And Fortune jumped so much better. I’ve always loved him and he is definitely the best of my novices, but it has been such a difficult season for him with the weather being so bad, and this was his last chance, so we just had to run him.

“Right from day one, Favour And Fortune has been one I liked a lot. He won his two bumpers in his first season, but we then ran him at Cheltenham and he came back not quite right and we found that he had pulled some muscles between his front legs.

“However, he thrived last summer and he has now won three hurdles and finished second in two others. He is not the sort of horse that you’d want to run every two or three weeks and he has not had a lot of racing. I’d like to keep him over hurdles next season, and he could be exciting.”

With Mystical Moon (Bangor) and Gallant Lion (Newbury) also finishing placed on Saturday, we can hopefully look forward to another profitable week.

The ground has dried out at Stratford, which would increase Finest View‘s chance in today’s mares handicap hurdle. She ran well at Newbury and will be sharper for the run after 231 days off, so fingers crossed she’ll be competitive.

Insanity should appreciate being back on the Flat at Windsor on Monday, while Alan tells me that he expects to have plenty of runners through May as half the horses in the yard have been waiting for good ground and we have plenty of novices who need races.

     HMS President and Westerton are both expected to be in action at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting, while it’s interesting that Trueshan and Sandown-bound Edwardstone have been spotted coming up the gallops together.

Alan explained that both are good work horses so they suit each other well, and, while Alan has been plagued by soft ground all winter, he won’t complain if underfoot conditions are on the easy side at Ascot next month as the Sagaro Stakes is the planned starting point for Trueshan.