Utopie Des Bordes (green silks) is 8-1 for the OLBG Mares' HurdlePICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Utopie Des Bordes stays unbeaten for Henderson
Report: Sandown, Friday
Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Listed) 2m4f, 4yo+ fillies and mares only
UTOPIE DES BORDES remained unbeaten over hurdles for Nicky Henderson as the French recruit stayed on powerfully for a Listed victory in Britain under Barry Geraghty.
The five-year-old was not a cheap purchase at €255,000, but her French form is already proving solid as she beat Racing Post Arkle hope Fago in a Grade 1 chase at Auteuil last November.
Entered in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Neptune and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdles, Utopie Des Bordes already has a few Cheltenham Festival options, and on the basis of her latest performance, could also be a contender for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, for which she is a general 8-1 chance.
However, a step up to 3m in the Albert Bartlett is the preferred option for the five-year-old, as Henderson said: "I think you'd conclude from that that we'll go to three miles for the Albert Bartlett, she's a novice over hurdles and gets a mares' allowance."
It was Toubeera and My Legal Lady who made the running, with the pair quickly establishing a lead of several lengths, as the main protagonists in the betting bided their time in behind.
Turning for home My Legal Lady began to feel the pinch and dropped away, with Utopie Des Bordes, She Ranks Me and the Willie Mullins-trained Twigline all beginning to close.
Toubeera valiantly tried to keep going in the lead, but a tired jump two out left her at a virtual standstill, with the leading trio sweeping by.
Barry Geraghty was in front on the 11-10 favourite, with Twigline travelling just as well on his outside, but a duel to the line was cut short as Ruby Walsh's mount crashed out the last. Happily horse and jockey were quickly up.
This left Geraghty to keep the winner up to her work, and she strode away up the hill, leaving She Ranks Me to take second at 9-1.