Utopie Des Bordes: 12-1 Mares' Hurdle and 25-1 for the Albert BartlettPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Utopie makes winning start for Henderson
UTOPIE DES BORDES made her first start in Britain a winning one, albeit without the brilliance that her €255,000 price tag or starting price of 4-11 would suggest.
A Grade 1-winning chaser in France,beating Fago in a Grade 1 at Auteuil on her last start, Utopie Des Bordes was back over hurdles as she made her debut for trainer Nicky Henderson and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede in a 2m½f mares' novice hurdle.
Having tracked the pace, Utopie Des Bordes was shaken up to challenge at the penultimate hurdle and had to be kept up to her work to see off Call Me A Star and September Blaze.
Henderson said: "She's been go a long time in France and she's tiny so we won't ask her to jump a fence. There's a nice two and a half mile Listed race at Sandown on Friday week, and that'll be far more her cup of tea than this. That was the point running here today, to get a run into her before that."
Utopie Des Bordes was left unchanged at 12-1 OLBG David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and at 25-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle by Paddy Power.
William Hill cut her to 20-1 (from 33) for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
Minella Forfitness (white silks) got the better of Zuider ZeePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
ALSO ON MONDAY
NICKY HENDERSON and Barry Geraghty were celebrating again after the second race at Doncaster as Minella Forfitness triumphed in the 2m3½f maiden hurdle.
Owned by Michael Buckley, Minella Forfitness had been beaten on his hurdles debut at Ascot in November but made no mistake on his second outing, staying on strongly to see off former useful Flat performers Zuider Zee and Aaim To Prosper.
Zuider Zee, having his first outing over hurdles for trainer John Ferguson, travelled like a smart runner but didn't find as much as the winner when asked at the final obstacle. Aaim To Prosper lost his chance when stumbling at the second-last hurdle.
Geraghty said: "We thought he needed better ground after Ascot and, while he ran a bit keen, he battled well and was tough. I was always happy from the turn that I had enough in hand and he stayed well."
Minella Forfitness was clipped to 33-1 (from 50) for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle by Paddy Power.