Nicky Henderson was delighted with the outcome of Allart’s chasing debut in the Sky Bet Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot, having been a little nervous at starting off at such a lofty level.
It is slightly unusual for a horse to have a first run over the larger obstacles in Grade Two company – and early on Allart was out the back having made a couple of sketchy jumps. But as the race wore on, with Kiltealy Briggs and Fiddlerontheroof ensuring a testing gallop, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fifth began to warm to his task.
Turning for home as Pic D’Orhy dropped away, Allart began to take aim at Fiddlerontheroof and Robbie Power and his sizeable engine was on display as he quickened smartly between the final two fences.
On the run to the last Nico de Boinville was motionless as Allart hit top gear and flew past last year’s Tolworth Hurdle winner, with the 5-2 chance coming two and three-quarter lengths clear.
Paddy Power cut him to 14-1 from 40s for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March.
“He was great. I wouldn’t often do that. I’ve done it before and regretted it,” said Henderson.
“It was the same race Angels Breath won last year, who Ronnie (Bartlett, owner) also owned half of. He of course picked up a nasty injury, but he is on the way back for next year.
“That was a great bit of horsemanship and riding from Nico because he managed to educate him at the same time as winning the race.
“To do that first time out in a Grade Two was brave, verging on stupidity from my point of view, and brave but brilliant from Nico.
“Ascot is not an easy track to bring a novice, I normally don’t take them to Cheltenham or Ascot first time out so it was slightly un-Henderson like.”
Looking to future plans, the Seven Barrows trainer said: “That was two-three today, so where do we go. We have Shiskin, who beat him the Supreme, over two miles and while he’ll stay two and a half miles no problem then you walk into Envoi Allen.
“But, as some people tell me, not all roads lead to Cheltenham. I certainly think we’ll be sticking above two miles, but I’d be surprised if he was a three-miler as he has so much pace.”
Henderson was also on the mark with Emir Sacree (11-1) in the opening ITV7 £100K Jackpot On Boxing Day Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, a close relation to the brilliant Sprinter Sacre.
“Graham Porter owns him and tells me he is a three-quarter brother to Sprinter and he’s also sent me another brother, a four-year-old called Go Sacre Go,” said Henderson.
“He will have his first run in a novice hurdle soon. They are both lovely horses.
“This lad was suppose to go over fences, but I thought I’d see where we were and it surprised us all a little bit. We might think again about chasing now.
“I must also mention Joe Anderson who rode him, as his partner wanted to get on with it but he just managed to save enough.”
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