13 ran 13:15 Exeter 2m ½f Hurdle, Novice Distance: 2m ½f Class: 4
Harry Fry believes Gidleigh Park has a big future following his impressive victory in the 2m½f novice hurdle, which saw him cut in the betting for major contests at the Cheltenham Festival.
The five-year-old beat subsequent bumper and hurdles scorer The Jukebox Man by six lengths at Chepstow in March, and built on that promising debut when winning by seven and a half lengths under Jonathan Burke.
“It was a good round of jumping and he’s put his head in front, so the dream lives on,” Fry told Racing TV. “He’s still a very raw horse. He’s a big, tall, rangy individual and he’ll have learnt a bit more.
“It’s taken Johnny an age after the line to pull him up which is really encouraging. We’ve just had to be patient with him because of his size. I remember when we took him in the school first time last year he could barely get round the bends. He’s a very exciting horse.”
Gidleigh Park was trimmed to 20-1 (from 33) for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle by Betfair Sportsbook. The unbeaten son of Walk In The Park could get his first try of Cheltenham next month.
“It’s about experience, we want to go again in a novice under a penalty,” added Fry. “Whether that’s at Cheltenham’s December meeting, we’ll see. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but there’s races there that can lead us into the spring.
“This is what this game’s about, finding nice horses who hopefully have got big days and a big future ahead of them.”
It completed a double for Fry and Burke, who easily landed the opening 2m3f novice chase with Might I when his sole rival Bourbali was pulled up by Brendan Powell after his saddle slipped.
The Sam Thomas-trained Alfie’s Princess followed up last month's hurdling debut success with a game victory in the 2m2½f mares’ novice hurdle.
👀— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 20, 2023
Gidleigh Park looks the part and the easy bumper winner remains unbeaten over Rules with a smooth success on his return and hurdles bow at @ExeterRaces @HarryFryRacing1 | @JohnnyBurke2 pic.twitter.com/FuDgikWGtg