Grade 1 Win Leads Super Saturday For Walk In The Park
Jonbon (6g Walk In The Park - Star Face, by Saint Des Saints) topped a terrific day for Grange Stud sire Walk In The Park when running out an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Henry VII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
The Grade 1 winning hurdler, who has just one defeat to his name, looked like a natural on his chase debut last month and was sent off favourite to make it two from two over fences. Nicky Henderson’s charge was ridden to make all by Aidan Coleman and was shaken up from the second last, before staying on strongly to score by eight lengths.
“It's great for a Grade 1 to go as smooth as it did,” the winning rider said after the race. “When I heard Boothill at the back of the second-last, I just gave Jonbon a squeeze and he went down and winged the last and it was race over then.”
Jonbon has now won seven of his eight starts for JP McManus, who bought the full-brother to Douvan (Walk In The Park) for £570,000 following an impressive debut win for Ellmarie Holden. Speaking after Saturday’s win, McManus said, “He has the size and scope and does it so effortlessly. He enjoys jumping and I thought chasing would be his game. So far, so good.”
Jonbon’s impressive record and big future may have convinced Ben Pauling to stretch to £350,000 for Flash In The Park (4g Walk In The Park - Mrs Masters, by Un Desperado) at the Goffs UK Tingle Creek Sale after racing.
The Donnchadh Doyle-trained bay shaped like an exciting prospect when drawing 20 lengths clear in a four-year-old maiden at Knockmullen House last month.
After seeing off opposition from Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, Pauling revealed his purchase had been made on behalf of Andrew Megson. “For me, he was the stand-out horse at the sale,” he said. “He has size and scope, which I look for in every horse. He couldn’t have won any more impressively on ground that was quite tacky and probably didn’t suit him.”
Meanwhile, over at Fairyhouse, dual Grade 1 winner Facile Vega (5g Walk In The Park - Quevega, by Robin Des Champs) extended his unbeaten record with a wide margin success in the two mile maiden hurdle.
Willie Mullins’s charge never gave supporters cause for concern, as he jumped well and travelled strongly throughout. Drawing clear approaching the penultimate flight, he won by 14 lengths unchallenged.
Mullins was impressed by the Hammer and Trowel Syndicate’s homebred, later saying “He was very slick for a horse having his first run over hurdles and making his own running. We will look at Christmas now.”