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  • 15:25 Neptune Investment Management Classic Novices' Hurdle 2m 4f 56y

  • (Grade 2) £30,000 added 4yo+ 10 ran
  • Winner £17,085 2nd £6,411 3rd £3,210 4th £1,599
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 5m 4.10s
  • Off time: 15:26:57

Wholestone out of this world in Neptune trial at Cheltenham

Last Updated: 28/01/17 6:34pm

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Daryl Jacob and Wholestone won again

Daryl Jacob and Wholestone won again

Wholestone made all the running to impressively win the Neptune Investment Management Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' horse was dropping back in trip after winning an Albert Bartlett trial at Cheltenham in December, but Daryl Jacob made good use of his stamina and he fought off all challengers off the front end.

The last hurdle was dolled off due to low winter sun, but Jacob was still holding onto his mount at that point, the pair having built up a useful lead.

William Henry came out of the pack to challenge, as did Poetic Rhythm who was always just off the lead, but Wholestone had all moves covered and he was driven out for a comfortable success.

Twiston-Davies said: "It was a very good performance, he's done nothing wrong all season and keeps getting better.

"We were going to go for the River Don at Doncaster over three miles, but luckily we came here as we were hoping for the softer ground.

"He is versatile regarding the trip and will be in the Neptune and Albert Bartlett, but the likelihood is the Albert Bartlett.

"It's possible he could have another run, we'll have to see. He's a good galloper and the rain helped.

"He schools well and, while his hurdling doesn't look clean, he doesn't lose any lengths. He is a very good jumper - it just doesn't look pretty! If he was slow over hurdles, it would be a disaster but he is not."

Jacob added: "Wholestone has been an improving horse all year.

"I was a little bit worried about coming back to two and a half miles today but fair play to Simon, Isaac, Nigel and Anthony (Bromley - racing manager). They knew the rain was coming and it was a good test for him out there today.

"He just seems to keep improving and improving. He is just a lovely horse - he doesn't do anything flash, he doesn't do anything quick but he is a typical Nigel horse. They are very, very hardy type of horses.

"I think the Albert Bartlett at The Festival could be the race for him if we get good ground. I am not going to tell my bosses what to do - they have mastered this horse from the start of the year and all credit to them."

Sky Bet reacted by cutting Wholestone to 8s from 16s for the Albert Bartlett, and to 16s from 25s for the Neptune.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Nigel Twiston-Davies is hinting Albert Bartlett and that's the way our traders see it too, cutting him to 8s from 16s for the longer race.

"He's got speed for a stayer, though, as we saw today, so he's a definite player if he does end up going for the Albert Bartlett."

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