Helnwein duly delivers on his jumping debut at Warwick
Following a busy Wednesday at Warwick, where Helnwein justified favouritism when making a winning jumping debut, there is more frantic midweek action on Thursday, with four runners at Ludlow and a brace at our local course, Newbury.
However, first things first, and Helnwein, who runs for one of Noel Fehily’s successful syndicates and is a bumper winner whom Alan has been itching to see over hurdles, did not disappoint on the Midlands course.
Travelling like a dream on the heels of the leaders, Tom Cannon, who sensibly rode Helnwein handy so as to avoid any traffic problems in what was a big field, was always oozing confidence.
For a stride turning into the short straight, Helnwein looked as if he might be in a spot of bother, but when Tom asked him at the second last to put a seal on the race, the Ffos Las bumper winner duly delivered, winning in workmanlike fashion. He is a horse whom Alan gave plenty of time last season, and that patience now looks to be paying off.
Former jockey Dave Crosse, Fehily’s right-hand man, was delighted with Helnwein. He said:”He is one of the best of our young horses and we would have been disappointed if he had been beaten. He is a horse who only does enough, but he has been schooling well, and, depending what Alan and Noel think, I would guess Helnwein might run again under a penalty before we look at something better, possibly the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle, which is run at Aintree on Boxing Day, having been transferred from Sandown,”
Stable jockey Tom Cannon is on duty at Newbury, where we have Emitom running in the Pertemps qualifier and I’m A Lumberjack in the bumper.
Emitom only joined the Barbury team half-way through last season, but he was quick to settle down here and won his only race for Barbury so far over this same three miles in March. He was unable to run again as he had an issue with a hock, but he has been working well at home and, despite a 5lb rise up the ladder, he ought to make a bold bid to carry on where he left off.
Alan is also looking forward to seeing I’m A Lumberjack back on the track, having been taken with his debut in the sales bumper at a later Newbury meeting. I’m A Lumberjack was nearer last than first turning for home, where not even place only punters would have been optimistic, but the penny suddenly dropped in the final furlong and he flew home to take second place behind the runaway winner, Crest of Glory.
“He was very green that day,” recalled Alan, adding “he is a lovely big horse and has been doing everything right at home, and it looks as if he learned plenty from that introduction.”
The third home in that bumper was also one of ours, Girls In Skirts, who ran a similar race to I’m A Lumberjack, getting the message in the last 200 yards to finish her race off well in third. She, too, will have learned from the experience and is a big scopey individual who has schooled well, so she will be interesting on her jumping debut in the mares maiden hurdle at Ludlow.
We are doubly-represented in this race, with Vivid Pink having her second run over timber for owner-breeder, Dr Anne Gillespie. She made a pleasing start when fourth at Exeter last month, having previously shown promise in a Market Rasen bumper.
Our other Ludlow runners are Star Turn, debuting over jumps in the juvenile hurdle, and The Doyen Chief in the introductory hurdle. The Doyen Chief is having his first run under Rules, but he is an Irish point-to-point winner, who made the perfect start for Barbury when landing his bumper at Hereford last April.
We have just the one runner on Friday, Notachance in the stayers handicap chase at Exeter. He has already been placed in a Midlands National and the Classic Chase at Warwick, and it was only after the second last at Uttoxeter that he started to weaken. He might well go back to Warwick, but with the ground testing at Haldon he also warrants consideration down there.