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Pointers on Track

Moira maiden to Ascot Grade 2 success for Angels Breath

Pat Doyle’s Suirvale Stables have enjoyed a terrific run of success within four-year-old maidens in recent seasons, and so it is no surprise to see his former point-to-pointers going to achieve plenty of success, as evident by the first and second horses home in the Grade 2 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial at Ascot on Friday, having both begun their racing careers in his Tipperary yard.

The easy winner of his one and only run between the flags when guided to an easy 12-length of defeat Tanrudy in a Moira four-year-old winner in April by John Barry, Angels Breath was set a big task for his rules debut, coming in Grade 2 company, showing the faith his new trainer Nicky Henderson had in him. 
Sent off as the 6/4 favourite, the grey son of Shantou, stalked the leader in the home straight, in a race which saw just four flights of hurdles jumped, and once being asked to overtake his former stable companion, Doyle’s Lisronagh winner Danny Kirwan, with over a furlong to race, the response was immediate as he quickly put the race to bed, crossing the line four and-a-half lengths clear.
Unsurprisingly, his victory in a race which has been won by the likes of Yanworth, L’ami Serge, and fellow point-to-point graduate Claimantakinforgan in recent years, Angels Breath was swiftly cut in the ante-post market for the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and is now a general 10/1 second favourite behind French recruit Annamix, who is still yet to run for Willie Mullins.
“We’ve always thought he was good and he looked very good in his point-to-point,” said Henderson when speaking to Racing TV following the success.
“We were bringing him back to two miles, but he is a two miler and has always looked like one at home.
“I think there is a fair bit of improvement to come. He got a lovely tow into the race from the big horse in front.
“I’ve got to say even I thought he was impressive.”
Elsewhere on the Ascot card, Jerrysback showed that his recent 50/1 success at Bangor was no fluke, when putting up a big performance to put it up to the odds-on favourite, Vindication, in the day’s other Grade 2 contest, the Ascot Novices’ Chase.
Colin McKeever’s former Loughanmore winning point-to-pointer, only went down by a length and-a-half to Kim Bailey’s unbeaten five-year-old.

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