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  • 12:45 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle 2m 87y

  • (Grade 2) (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) £30,000 added 4yo+ 6 ran
  • Winner £17,085 2nd £6,411 3rd £3,210 4th £1,599
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 4m 8.20s
  • Off time: 12:48:06

Moon Racer wins Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham

Last Updated: 13/11/16 4:36pm

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Moon Racer leads Mirsaale home in the closing stages

Moon Racer leads Mirsaale home in the closing stages

Moon Racer ran out an impressive winner of a tactical renewal of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham.

The winner of the Champion Bumper in 2015, the seven-year-old was forced to miss the majority of last season due to injury but did return in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival in April.

He made a winning start to his hurdling career at Perth in September and took another step forwards in the Grade Two contest.

Mirsaale made the early running at a very steady pace with one or two of his rivals struggling to settle while What About Carlo was awash with sweat.

The order barely changed until the runners had reached the bottom of the field where most made a beeline for the stands' side rail.

Moon Racer and Tom Scudamore got there ahead of Mirsaale but there was all sorts of trouble in behind causing the stewards to investigate the incident.

That was of little concern to Scudamore whose mount quickened clear up the hill to win by two and a quarter lengths to earn a quote of 7/1 (from 12s) for the Festival.

Sky Bet's Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners said: "He was favourite for last year's Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle before he'd jumped an obstacle and now that he's got his hurdling career underway, he is obviously among the favourites.

"He won a tactical battle there but it was a good, strong field and we've made him 7/1 from 12s to follow in the steps of Altior and add the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle to this contest."

Scudamore said: "When it all comes right it looks good. Fortunately, I had a very, very talented partner."

Pipe said: "It was a great performance. Both him and Ballyandy are good horses and we thought he'd improved from Perth.

"He only does just enough, but Scu (Scudamore) was always confident. He's very deceiving. You'd think he'd want further, but he's got a great turn of foot.

"He's very much one to look forward to. He might come back here in December if there's a race. I think he might be better on better ground.

"He'll have an entry in the Champion Hurdle. Why not?"

Although the blue riband event is a possibility, the Pond House handler did emphasise that the novice contest remained the primary objective.

"He is turning eight so we have got to do a bit of racing," he continued.

"He always shows plenty at home and does everything very easily. He has got a great attitude. I would not be worried if we go straight to Cheltenham but we want to get more runs into him.

"Hopefully we can keep him in one piece and enjoy him.

"The Supreme is the number one target. He has only been beaten once in his life."

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said Ballyandy had fleetingly struggled with his breathing when he came back from the track.

The Naunton handler said: "He was a bit short of oxygen (after the race) and had a bit of a wobble. Sometimes in the excitement they forget to breathe after races.

"But he's 100 per cent now and has gone home."

Of Ballyandy's performance, Twiston-Davies added: "He got in a whole load of trouble and there was no gallop, but that's life."

There was more bad news for Ballyandy's connections as the Stewards found that he had interfered with Movewiththeimes which in turn caused interference to Keep In Line.

They found Ryan Hatch in breach of Rule (B)54.1 and guilty of careless riding in that when he switched right-handed to get a run inside Mirsaale when there was insufficient room for him to go there. They suspended Hatch for three days covering November 27-29.

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