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Warwick: Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (15.00)

David Metcalf | January 15, 2016

Born Survivor looked an exciting prospect when making a winning debut over the obstacles and can fend off a strong Irish challenge to land the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick (15.00).

The gelding won his sole start in an Irish point at Broughshane in good style, and was sent off odds-on when scoring over course and distance last month on his first start for trainer Dan Skelton.

Born Survivor travelled strongly on the heels of the leaders, and after taking up the running three from home only had to be shaken up on the run-in to beat Minella Charmer by a cosy two lengths.

Dan Skelton Stable Tour

The pair pulled 15 lengths clear of the field, and the runner-up has since come out and bolted up to give the form a boost.

Judged on the manner of that success Born Survivor has a huge engine and needs keeping firmly onside.

The five-year-old is also entitled to come on significantly for that outing, his first in 236 days, and the testing underfoot conditions will hold no fears.

Skelton also knows what is required to win the race having saddled Three Musketeers to victory 12 months ago, and has made no secret that he holds Born Survivor in high regard.

Another big plus is that Born Survivor has course and distance winning form to his name, and the son of King’s Theatre can take the step up in class in his stride to land the spoils en route to even better things.

Mullins duo strong contenders

Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins is represented by Open Eagle and Thomas Hobson, and both look big players.

Open Eagle was a useful sort on the level, and after opening his account over hurdles at the second time of asking at Fairyhouse ran well to chase home Altior in a decent class 2 contest at Kempton last month.

Although no match for the easy 13 length winner, Open Eagle stuck to the task well to be beaten 13 lengths and the Altior is a very exciting prospect and a leading contender for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Willie Mullins Fairyhouse Photo: Patrick McCann 29.11.2014

That gives the form a solid look in the context of this contest, but I am not convinced that Open Eagle has the same scope as Born Survivor.

Thomas Honson has won two of his four starts over the obstacles, and there was lots to like about his most recent success at Punchestown.

The six-year-old made all, and despite a couple of sloppy jumps found plenty to assert on the run-in and beat the useful Jetstream Jack by 2 3/4 lengths.

Thomas Hobson is clearly going the right way and should have more to offer, and of the Mullins pair he may well emerge as the biggest danger to the selection.

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Coral’s top tip: Born Survivor created a huge impression when scoring on debut over hurdles and looks well worth a wager to fend off strong Irish challenge and maintain his unbeaten record.

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