Minella Class takes command in Tolworth
Report: Sandown, Saturday
32Red Hurdle (Registered as the Tolworth Hurdle) (Grade 1) 2m½f
CONNECTIONS of Minella Class are dreaming of the Cheltenham Festival after the son of Oscar produced a commanding performance in the race registered as the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
Ridden by Barry Geraghty, the Nicky Henderson-trained Minella Class coped best with the testing conditions to justify 6-4 favouritism.
Boylesports clipped him to 12-1 (from 25) for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, although Henderson is leaning towards the Neptune Investment Managament Novices' Hurdle, for which he is 12-1 with Paddy Power, William Hill and Totesport. Stan James go 10-1.
"He's still learning, but he did quicken up in that ground," Henderson said.
"He'll make a lovely chaser and if I had to hazard a guess he'd go for the two mile five race [the Neptune] at Cheltenham.
"I just think he'd travel and quicken better on better ground over that trip."
Geraghty added: "He did it well and travelled great. He's kept on well there and it's big difference on this ground with a horse who handles it and one that doesn't."
Indeed, the ground was offered as an excuse for thebeaten horses.
Megastar was seven lengths back in second and trainer Gary Moore said: "He got stuck in the worst ground from the Pond Fence onwards anddidn't get home. He only ran ten days ago so it was a creditable effort.
"He's come back with two bad cuts though, and will have a break, but Cheltenham is still on the agenda."
Toubab, impressive in a Listed race at Haydock last time, was unable to pick up, finishing third.
Jockey Sam Thomas said: "He's only just turned five and these were the worst conditions he's raced in."
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