King sounds Chatez Triumph Hurdle warning

A tilt at the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival is far from guaranteed for Chatez despite the exciting youngster making it two from two over hurdles in impressive fashion at Warwick.

King sounds Chatez Triumph Hurdle warning

Trainer Alan King has clinched the major juvenile prize at Prestbury Park on a couple of occasions in recent years, with Penzance striking in 2005 and the diminutive but popular Katchit successful two years later and Chatez appears an obvious contender.

Good enough to run at Royal Ascot before being sent off favourite for a race on Champions Day, the three-year-old made a fine start to his jumping career at Bangor last month and was a 5-4 favourite to make it two from two in the 10 Free Bet At Juvenile Hurdle.

Jockey Aidan Coleman cut a confident figure throughout and a fine leap at the final flight saw him go on to score comfortably by three and a quarter lengths from Adrakhan.

Chatez is as short as 14-1 for the Triumph Hurdle in March, but King has warned potential backers to hang fire.

He said: “I was delighted with that, really pleased, and I might take him to Kempton now on December 27.

“He seems to have settled well, but I do need to warn punters that the owners aren’t too keen on going for the Triumph.

“It could be that we miss Cheltenham in the spring and wait for Aintree.”

Elsewhere on the card the afternoon belonged to trainer Richard Lee and jockey Jamie Moore as exciting novice chaser Top Gamble initiated a treble for the team.

Top Gamble endured a disappointing campaign last season when trained by David Pipe, letting down favourite-backers on a couple of occasions when he failed to complete the track at Exeter and Haydock. However, a switch of yards and a change of discipline appears to have turned his career around and having impressed on his fencing debut for Lee at Wetherby last month, he was the 11-4 market leader to strike again.

Jumping soundly from the front from the outset in the Lewis Badges Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, the six-year-old shook off the opposition between the final two fences for a seven-length victory from Jumps Road.

Kylemore Lough needed a good slice of luck to strike at 33-1 in the Lewis Badges Maiden Hurdle, while stable stalwart Incentivise (4-1) dourly saw out the three miles and five furlongs best in the Jockey Club Catering Festive Christmas Handicap Chase.

Speaking from home, Lee said: “We did have a treble once at Doncaster, but it’s a long time ago. I’m delighted for the kids on track, they’ve left me at home to do the work, but it’s been great viewing!

“Top Gamble is a lovely, strapping horse and he must be literally two hands bigger than Incentivise. He was good at Wetherby and he was good again today.

“He has really taken to the jumping job very well and we’ll see where we go from here. I don’t have any plans in mind at this stage.”

Point-to-point winner Kylemore Lough was booked for second on his debut under Rules, but the final-flight fall of 9-4 favourite Kingscourt Native handed him a wide-margin victory.

“Kylemore Lough had luck on his side, but it happens like that sometimes. It was his first run for us for a new owner, so it’s a great result,” said Lee.

“It was great to see old Incentivise win again. He plugged on as he does and has done the job well, too, so it’s been a great day.”

The Evan Williams-trained It’s A Steal (9-4 favourite) dominated proceedings in the Handicap Chase, passing the post 10 lengths clear of Allerton despite being heavily eased by Paul Moloney.

Williams said: “I’m just happy to get him going again as he’s a horse who has had a lot of problems.

“I think he deserved to win a little race and we’ll have to see what the handicapper does now.

“We have got him entered next week (at Ludlow), so if the horse is well and sound, we could turn him out again under a penalty if we thought that was the sensible thing to do.”

Gina Andrews steered 8-1 shot Seas Of Green to a comprehensive victory in the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle, with Ben Pauling’s Huntingdon winner Barters Hill (5-1) following up under a penalty in the bumper.

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