Hermes Allen was described by his trained Paul Nicholls as “the best of our novices at the moment” when he made all to land the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday afternoon.
The Poliglote gelding had been snapped up for £350,000 in the Tattersalls sales ring at Prestbury Park after he had won his four-year-old maiden at Kirkistown last season for Caroline McCaldin and her father Wilson Dennison.
Stepping into graded company for the first time since winning at Stratford by 27 lengths on his rules bow for his new connections, and he once again raced from the front.
Jumping superbly throughout, he kept finding more and stayed on resolutely to take the honours by nine lengths from fellow point-to-point winner Music Drive.
“He didn’t jump great at Stratford but he jumped great today. He has improved bundles since Stratford. He is a proper horse. He made it the other day and I said to Harry they are fit and they are jumping so there is no point hanging on to him so take advantage of the way they are running. He stays three miles and he has class.
“He jumped brilliantly in front so why drop him in. He has took a big step forward since Stratford, working wise and jumping wise. He literally showed nothing before Stratford then in his last bit of work the other day it was like two different horses. At the end of the gallop we can’t stop him so he is obviously a hugely talented horse.
“He would get further than that but that is far enough. He looks the best of our novices at the moment.”
John Hales, who co-owns the winner along with Ged Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson, commented: “It was a great performance. This is a different league to Stratford but that was up against quality animals. That was a great win. He has taken them apart. When you front run it is always a gamble but he just pulled away again.