herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Exeter win can set Montbazon up for Supreme test

Alan King's Montbazon can set himself up for a crack at the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with a victory at Exeter tomorrow.

The Devon track will be slightly disappointed that one of their main races has only attracted six runners but the Molson Coors Novices' Hurdle is still a competitive little affair.

Nicky Henderson's Molotof has apparently benefited from being set some stiff tasks last season and has rattled off a three-timer this term, although this looks much tougher.

And Nick Williams' Urbain De Sivola looked imperious when beating a decent field at Newbury.

However, Montbazon has always been held in the highest regard by King and is now beginning to fulfil his potential.

Henderson might not win with Molotof, but his Nelson's Bridge can win the Worthington's "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.

An odds-on winner of a Bangor bumper on his debut, he opened his account at the first time of asking over timber.

Up against the former smart pointer Dualla Lord, victory looked assured as he cruised up to challenge in the straight.

However, he ran very green under pressure and the winning margin of a neck did not do justice to his superiority.He has a double penalty to contend with but could be up to it.

The Betfair Graduation Chase can go to Teaforthree.

Having run a creditable race behind Join Together at Cheltenham in November he returned there a month later to beat the smart hurdler Restless Harry. He found the Feltham too much at Kempton at Christmas but can be forgiven not being able to live with Grands Crus -- not many can. He should get his career back on track.

The King-trained Walkon will have plenty of followers in the Grolsch Novices' Chase but he may have to give second best to Paul Nicholls' Cedre Bleu.

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