Ascot Preview: Josses Hill set to sparkle on chasing debut
Josses Hill makes his eagerly awaited debut over fences at Ascot today (2.30) and is strongly fancied to make it a winning one.
The six-year-old joined trainer Nicky Henderson after finishing a highly promising second of 22 to Faugheen on his debut in a bumper at Punchestown and developed into one of the best novice hurdlers of last season.
After an impressive winning debut over the obstacles at Newbury, Josses Hill went down by just 1/2 a length to stable companion Royal Boy in the Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton before running a stormer to finish a six length second of 18 to Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The gelding went on to round of the campaign with an easy six length success in a Grade 2 contest at Aintree, and looks the type to do even better over fences.
Josses Hill is a strapping sort with tons of scope, and although this is a hot Grade 2 contest with the Dunraven Storm and Ptit Zig in opposition it looks significant that Henderson has chosen it as the starting point for the son of Winged Love’s chasing career.
The Seven Barrows handler saddled the brilliant Simonsig to win it on chasing debut two years ago, and that one went on to land the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Josses Hill has the potential to follow in his stable companion’s footsteps, and is currently a 7/1 shot with Coral for next year’s Arkle. If, as expected, he comes through this test with flying colours I would expect his odds to shorten.
L’ami Serge looked a hugely exciting prospect when bolting up on British debut for Henderson and can follow-up in the the 2m novices’ hurdle (1.55) to give the Lambourn trainer a double on the card.
The gelding has some smart for to his name when trained in France by Guillalme Macaire and could not have been more impressive when cruising home by six lengths in a Listed handicap hurdle at Newbury last month.
The four-year-old travelled ominously well throughout, and won with any amount in hand despite flattening the last two flights.
L’ami Serge has a huge engine judged on that performance, and remains open to stacks more improvement after just four starts over the obstacles.
The son of King’s Theatre is already being talked of a a possible leading contender for the Suprem Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next, and Coral go 20/1 about him for that contest.
If L’ami Serge is to live up to those expectations then he ought to be capable of giving 7lb to Emerging Talent and taking care of Irish raider Killultagh Vic to land the spoils in this Grade 2 contest.
12.50: Champagne Present
1.20: Dance Floor King
1.55: L’ami Serge (NB)
2.30: Josses Hill (NAP)
3.05: Little Boy Boru
3.40: Rio Treasure