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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Five things we learned from Saturday's racing

Master Blueyes: out on his own in the Adonis
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1. King still rules when it comes to juveniles

It has been a decade since Alan King last scooped the JCB Triumph Hurdle but he has long been renowned as a top-class trainer of juveniles and reaffirmed that opinion with runaway Adonis Hurdle winner Master Blueyes.

Despite being beaten eight lengths by Charli Parcs at Kempton over Christmas, King was happy to take that rival on again on Saturday and Master Blueyes was travelling much the stronger when Charli Parcs fell two-out.

Hardened from his days on the Flat, Master Blueyes is just the sort to handle the demands of a Triumph Hurdle and it is not difficult to imagine him giving the trainer a third win in the festival race just over two weeks' time.

2. Do not miss Divin Bere in the Fred Winter

It can be dangerous to take all form lines literally but if Master Blueyes is your idea of the Triumph Hurdle winner, make sure you do not miss the horse who beat him at Huntingdon last month in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.

His name is Divin Bere and was given a favourable mention by trainer Nicky Henderson at a press day at his yard earlier in the week. He was tucked up in his box on Saturday, but the Adonis paid a big compliment to him considering he was giving weight away to Master Blueyes last time.

He is off to the Fred Winter on a mark of 137.

Mysteree: last season's Eider Chase winner is back in action at Cheltenham
3. Dunne a top talent that should be utilised

It would be easy to name a dozen jockeys who do not get the chances their talents deserve but Robbie Dunne would have to be close to the top of any list and he gave a timely reminder to what trainers have been missing in Saturday's Eider at Newcastle.

Quite simply horses travel and jump for Dunne and it is no surprise to see the biggest wins of his career have all come in staying chases, where sloppy jumpers rarely get into contention.

His ride on Mysteree at Newcastle was different class and far better than a rider who has yet to ride 20 or more winners in a season. That statistic looks set to end soon as Dunne is enjoying his best ever campaign and anyone looking for a rider in the Randox Health Grand National should start to form an orderly queue at his door.

4. Compensation awaits Double Shuffle

While the Eider might have been the recognised Grand National trial on Saturday the BetBright Chase might offer the best clue for Aintree in April.

Kempton runner-up Double Shuffle was tanking when making a momentum-halting error at the third-last, so to be beaten just half a length at the finish was some effort.

Gracious in defeat, trainer Tom George and jockey Adrian Heskin felt the mistake had probably cost them victory but neither lost sight of the bigger picture.

"He will go straight to the National now," said George, where Double Shuffle has been allotted just 10st 7lb.    

5. Mullins and Henderson cannot win everything

Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson dominate the betting for the Cheltenham Festival top trainer award but Saturday offered a timely reminder that even the best in the business have bad days at the office.

Mullins only had four runners at Fairyhouse but three were beaten, two at prohibitive odds, while Henderson had a stinker with just one winner from ten runners at Kempton, including defeat for two odds-on favourites.

While Saturday has no bearing on results at Cheltenham, it proves they do not have a monopoly.

Kempton runner-up Double Shuffle was tanking when making a momentum-halting error at the third-last, so to be beaten just half a length at the finish was some effort

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