Henderson has another Cheltenham Festival contender after Hyland qualifies for Pertemps Final
The Nicky Henderson-trained Hyland raced himself into Cheltenham Festival contention when he won the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle as jump racing returned to the world-famous track at the weekend.
The six-year-old, who won on his seasonal reappearance at Warwick 23 days earlier over two miles and five furlongs, handled the return to three miles with ease under a patient ride from Nico de Boinville. The 9/1 shot moved past longtime leader Flight Deck after clearing the last and then held off a challenge from Judicial Law, who won at the Kelso last month, to triumph by two lengths.
It was a first Cheltenham success for syndicate organiser David Sumpter, who was left fighting back tears after finally tasting victory over the hallowed turf 35 years since sending out his first runner.
“Everybody wants Cheltenham winners, and I’ve had lots of winners over the years and believe it or not that was my 99th, but to get one here is great,” he said.
Meanwhile, six-time champion jumps trainer Henderson suggested that the in-form son of Turgeon could now be in line for a title at next March’s Pertemps Final at The Cheltenham Festival, for which he has been introduced as a 25/1 shot.
He said: “He has got himself qualified and he will turn up for the Final whatever happens.
“We were going to jump fences, but I suspect we will put that on hold. He was very good at Warwick, but this is a different kettle of fish and I thought he wanted top of the ground.
“He does stay, and he stays and jumps. Once you have qualified for it, you might as well go for it.”