Sentry Duty chases the hard-ridden Katchit up the Cheltenham hillPICTURE: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com
Sentry Duty toys with Freedom Hurdle rivals
Report: Cheltenham, Friday
Freedom Hurdle 2m4½f, new course
SENTRY DUTY was the middle leg of trebles on the opening day of 2010 for jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Nicky Henderson after toying with his two rivals at Cheltenham on Friday.
The Peter Spiller-owned hurdler settled behind Katchit and Mr Thriller as the pair watched each other like hawks, ready to cover any moves.
But they were not aware of how well Sentry Duty was travelling behind them, despite a run of jumping errors, and as Katchit went to the lead at the top of the home straight there looked to be only one winner.
Katchit, ridden by a masked Robert Thornton, led over the last much to the delight of the crowd, but Sentry Duty proved to be the bad guy as he cantered alongside the gritty Katchit before sauntering off to victory.
He returned the 9-2 outsider of three, while Katchit claimed second at 11-4 and Mr thriller was third at 4-7.
William Hill make Sentry Duty a 16-1 shot to floor Big Buck's in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle while Stan James go 14-1 (from 25) for the same contest.
Asked about whether Sentry Duty could be aimed at the World Hurdle, Henderson said: "It's a hard one. Does this prove he stays?
"He's just done them for toe and Barry actually wants to come back to two miles. He doesn't want to go over further, but you would be tempted by the World Hurdle route."