Grade 1 Christmas Gift For Getaway
The high-class mare Verdana Blue (6m Getaway - Blue Gallery, by Bluebird) emerged victorious after a nail-biting finish to the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle, in which she denied stablemate and dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air.
The Nicky Henderson-trained mare was last seen finishing a close second in a Listed contest on the flat, having captured a Listed and Grade 2 earlier in the season. The sole mare in the two mile contest, she was sent off second favourite at 11/2, compared to her stablemate’s price of 1/4. Ridden towards the back of the field by Nice de Boinville, she was pushed along to chase Buveur D’Air after he took the lead at the second last flight and ran on well from the final hurdle to reach his eye level approaching the line, the pair battling neck-and-neck into the shadow of the post.
Verdana Blue could now return to the flat, depending on ground, as Henderson later revealed; “Verdana Blue is a very good mare and always has been, providing you get her on some decent ground, as she is no good on soft ground. Unless they promised to give us good to firm it would be a waste of time going for the Champion Hurdle. The plan has been to go for the £200,000 stayers' race on the all-weather at Lingfield on Good Friday - and Luke Morris, who rode her here three weeks ago, says she'll win it.”
Owned by Crimbourne Stud, Verdana Blue was bought by Highflyer Bloodstock for £65,000 after winning a bumper for her breeder and then trainer Edmond Kent. She becomes a well-deserved maiden Group 1 winner by her Grange Stud sire, Getaway, whose son Getabird was just touched off in a Grade 1 Novice Chase at Limerick on the very same day.