'This lad has gears' - Bass left beaming as Ajero racks up impressive four-timer
Julie and David Martin enjoyed their finest moment as owners at Huntingdon with Charbel, and they may have unearthed another classy performer in their colours at the Cambridgeshire track in his half-brother Ajero, who completed an impressive four-timer in the 2m handicap hurdle.
Charbel was successful in the 2018 Peterborough Chase for the owners and trainer Kim Bailey, and the team could have another graded horse on their hands with this six-year-old, who put in a slick round of jumping to win by eight and a half lengths under David Bass.
The victory capped off an impressive run for Ajero, who suffered defeat over this course and distance on his hurdles debut before racking up wins at Ludlow, Kempton and Market Rasen.
"He's a cracking little horse," said a delighted Bass. "Charbel was quick as a novice hurdler but this lad has gears. This lad isn't a chaser, he's a real quick hurdler.
"He's by Red Jazz so it's in the pedigree and his hurdling was great today. We got a nice lead and once he hit the front he went through the gears. I was really happy with that."
Asked if Ajero, also owned in partnership with the Martins by Dan Hall, could emulate the high-class successes of Charbel, he added: "Definitely, I think he will go far."
Doddie the greatest
Doddiethegreat's triumph in the concluding bumper had a feel-good factor about it after Nico de Boinville revealed the winner's prize-money will be donated to the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation – the charity set up by Scottish rugby great Doddie Weir to raise funds to aid research into Motor Neurone Disease and supporting fellow sufferers.
The five-year-old – named after Weir and owned by Kenny Alexander – defied a penalty to net £2,274 plus De Boinville's riding fee for the foundation.
De Boinville said: "All prize-money won today between myself and the guv'nor, and my riding fee as well, all goes to the Doddie Weir foundation. It's a great cause and the more awareness he can raise the better."
Conditional jockey Nathan Brennan and trainer Hannah James celebrated landmark achievements following Emmas Dilemma's victory in the 3m1f mares' handicap hurdle, which was a first under rules for James and completed Brennan's first career double.
Brennan, 21, is based with Chris Gordon and has ridden eight of 11 career winners as a professional this season and was also successful on Torrent Des Mottes in the 2m½f handicap chase.
"That's my first double, hopefully I'll start to get used to them now!" Brennan said. "I rode as an amateur for Noel Meade but I've been over here two years and thankfully it's paying off.
"I'm delighted for Hannah and all the team too. She's only got three or four horses but they're everything to her. Her horses are her world."
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