Saint Segal sets up possible outing at The Festival

Saint Segal enhanced his prospects of an outing at Cheltenham in March at the Festival ™ after producing what trainer Jane Williams described as a “faultless” display in the Juvenile Hurdle at Warwick on Sunday. 

After finding only Porticello too strong in the Grade One Juvenile Finale Hurdle at Chepstow last month, the gelded son of Saint Des Saints made the most of a significant drop in class when successfully giving weight away all round to claim the 2m prize. 

Racing front rank from the flag fall the 1-7 favourite put in a slick round of jumping before quickening smartly clear late on to defeat Hasty Parisian by an eased down three lengths. 

Williams said: “It is a long way in front by yourself, two miles on your own. He is a brave horse and he will have learnt a lot from that. I thought his jumping was very good. 

“Chester (Williams, jockey) was slightly concerned coming to the second last when he thought the horses were coming from behind but he gave him a squeeze and he picked up and at no point after that was it in doubt. 

“I love his attitude He is a very brave horse and when you watch him in the paddock he is a very professional horse.

“I think he will be better in a bigger field but I’m really pleased with that as it was a faultless display today.”

Although Saint Segal was trimmed from 33-1 into 20-1 for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at The Festival, winning trainer Williams will let the dust settle before making future plans. 

She added: “Chester (Williams, jockey) has said he will go for the Fred Winter but there are a few other people to consult, me the trainer for a start and secondly the owners (Culverhill Racing Club V). He will have entries in both the Fred Winter and Triumph but he has so many options. 

“France would be obvious for him. He hasn’t got a lot of experience at speed over English hurdles and that would be my concern (for Cheltenham), but the way he jumps would suit France and we do well with that type of horse there.”

Around 50 members of the Owners Group ensured the loudest cheer of the day was given to Barrichello who returned to winning ways with a tenacious success under top weight of 11st 12lb in the feature Try Racing TV For Free Now Handicap Hurdle (2m).  

Despite proving slightly difficult at the start like he did at Bangor-On-Dee last time out the Gentlewave gelding, who scored at Listed level at Haydock Park in November, was not for passing once jumping off after holding 11-8 Favourite Good Risk At All off by a neck under Brian Hughes. 

Donald McCain, winning trainer, said of the successful 7-2 chance: “It just went pear-shaped the last day at Bangor. 

“Because of the sun, he didn’t see the tape and just heard it go up so he has given himself a bit of a fright. He is a smashing horse and is every inch of a chaser. 

“We were going to go over fences in December but I spoke to everyone at the Owners Group and said while we are back on track we will get a bit more experience into him. 

“He is going the right way but it is all about next season over fences with him.”

Theatre Glory put her “feisty” attitude to good use when completing a near 47-1 double for both trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey James Bowen with victory in the Ian Duckham’s 70TH Birthday Celebration Mares “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (2m 3f) by nine and a half lengths. 

Katie Croft, who not only runs winning syndicate Canter Banter Racing with her partner Dave Fehily but also rides Theatre Glory at home, said: “She was a four year old taking on six year olds last time and it was only three weeks after her first run but we thought would have a punt at a Listed race with her. 

“We were confident she would get this two mile three trip. I ride her out at home and she is feisty. She is one who thinks that she is fast than she is but she keeps finding for you.”

Fantastic Lady (10-1) had earlier got the ball rolling for Henderson and Bowen when providing the triumphant rider with his first winner at the course in 1m019 days after running out a six length winner of the Watch Racing TV With Free Trial Now Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m 4f). 

Bowen said: “It’s been a while since I’ve had a winner here. They went a good gallop and she jumped really well off it. She is just progressing where she left off last season over hurdles. She gave me a bit of a scare at the second last but otherwise you couldn’t fault her.”