Star of the show? Humphrey Bogart bidding to be leading man over hurdles
Humphrey Bogart, winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial in 2016 for Richard Hannon before finishing fifth to Harzand at Epsom, is about to embark upon a hurdling campaign which connections hope could take him to Cheltenham.
Now with Nicky Henderson, the five-year-old, who runs in the Chelsea Thoroughbreds colours, has shown all the right signs in his schooling and is likely to make his debut over the next few weeks.
James Ramsden, managing director of Chelsea Thoroughbreds, said on Tuesday: “He’s had a long layoff with a tendon injury, but he does look well and is in good shape.
“He’s done bits and pieces with Henrietta Knight, and it’s fair to say that eyebrows have been raised! It’s exciting, but these are very early days.
“We need to get him out in a novice hurdle soon, and then see where it takes us. The owners have all been so patient with him. It would be great if he could turn into a Supreme Novices’ horse, but we’re in the hands of Nicky and Henrietta.”
Humphrey Bogart hasn’t raced since finishing fourth to Kings Fete in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury in August 2016.
Big handicap hopes for Moon Racer
Moon Racer, another highly talented horse who has suffered more than his share of injury problems, could be Betfair Hurdle-bound next month.
Yet to reappear this season after ending his last campaign with a heavy defeat in Grade 1 company at Aintree, Moon Racer is back in action on David Pipe’s gallops.
“It’s early days but we’ll enter him for the Betfair Hurdle and see how he comes along,” said Pipe.
“We’ve still got a lot of faith in the horse. He hasn’t lost any of his ability. We’ll be considering the big handicaps at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown in the spring.”
Pipe’s dual Festival winner Un Temps Pour Tout, however, will not be attempting to land a third successive Ultima Handicap Chase in March.
“He had a tough race under top weight in the race last year and has taken a long time to get over it,” said the trainer.
“He’s still only nine and there’s plenty of time for him. We’ll start again with him early next season.”
Newbury up next for Call Me Lord
Henderson’s Call Me Lord, who put up a decent display under top weight in handicap company at Sandown last Saturday, is on course for the Betfair Hurdle.
Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "He'll head to Newbury but we've probably blown it by going up 9lb.
"It was nice to see him back to what he was showing in the spring. He kept straight on Saturday as well, although Nicky and the jockeys have always felt he's better going right-handed.
"We now need to try him left-handed and the aim is to do that at Newbury. He'll also get a Champion Hurdle entry."
While Call Me Lord's mark is now 152 in the wake of his Sandown success, runner-up Our Merlin was raised 4lb to 127, having been on just 86 before a quickfire hat-trick last month.
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