Killala Quay: produces another neat jump under Richard JohnsonPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Killala Quay bounces back to land Grade 2
Report: Sandown, Friday
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (registered as the Winter Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m4f, 4yo+
THE promising Killala Quay, well beaten in a hot handicap at Cheltenham's Open meeting last month, got back to winning ways at Sandown on Friday when he landed the Grade 2 novice hurdle from Beat That.
Sent off a 5-1 chance, the winner had recorded two easy wins in novice hurdles and had the option of sticking to those races at Cheltenham last month.
However, trainer Charlie Longsdon thought he was on a decent mark so pitched him into handicap company in an intermediate hurdle.
He finished seventh - beaten 14 lengths - behind Thomas Crapper, but returned to form in fine style under Richard Johnson in the race registered as the Winter Novices' Hurdle.
Settled wide in fourth as Saint Roque took the five-runner field along, Killala Quay needed a few reminders from Johnson turning in, but was still in contention in the home straight, as was the Nicky Henderson-trained Beat That.
He went very smoothly under Barry Geraghty and led after jumping the second-last, but a blunder at the final hurdle helped Killala Quay record a two-and-a-half-length victory.
BetVictor make Killala Quay a 25-1 chance for both the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Neptune is the main target, according to Longsdon, who is enjoing a fine campaign.
"That's 50 for the season," he said. "The last few have been slower, but it's bloody hard at the moment.
"Dickie gave him a great ride. We liked him a lot before Cheltenham where things didn't go his way, but they've come right today. The Challow might be a bit soon, but there are races for him at Warwick and Cheltenham and the Neptune is the ultimate aim."