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Hermes Allen storms to Challow Hurdle win





Hermes Allen won the Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury Racecourse on New Year's Eve in emphatic fashion, landing Paul Nicholls his third successive win in the race.

The six-year-old, who is part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, was always in control of the race and finished four-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of second placed You Wear It Well.

The French-bred gelding is now the 3-1 favourite for Cheltenham's Ballymore Novices Hurdle after winning three races in three months at the back end of 2022.

Hermes Allen eases to Challow Hurdle glory
Hermes Allen eases to Challow Hurdle glory
Hermes Allen and jockey Harry Cobden soak up the plaudits
Hermes Allen and jockey Harry Cobden soak up the plaudits

Nicholls, whose previous Challow winners include King George VI champion Bravemansgame and Gold Cup superstar Denman, told The Racing Post he expects the "awesome" Hermes Allen not to run again between now and the festival.

"He'll go straight to Cheltenham," he said.

"I'll talk to the lads who own him tomorrow, but I don't need to give him another run before the festival.

"He doesn't need to prove anything and it would have been a hard enough race on that ground in a Grade One.

"He's got to be at the top of my novice hurdlers, but I don't want to compare him with anything; he's a good horse who will be a nice chaser next season.

"He's very exciting."

Earlier, Upper Lambourn legend Nicky Henderson's odds on favourite Jet Powered was stunned in the Coral Racing Club Hurdle, finishing fifth after getting bogged down as 66/1 shot Jupiter Du Gite caused a considerable upset.

Shock 66/1 winner Jupiter Du Gite and rider Niall Houlihan
Shock 66/1 winner Jupiter Du Gite and rider Niall Houlihan
Midnight Ginger wins the day’s opening race
Midnight Ginger wins the day’s opening race
Bryan Carver aboard Coral racing Club Mandarin Handicap Chase winner Grumpy Charley
Bryan Carver aboard Coral racing Club Mandarin Handicap Chase winner Grumpy Charley
Tom O’Brien and Blenkinsop make the running in the Handicap Hurdle
Tom O’Brien and Blenkinsop make the running in the Handicap Hurdle
Tom O’Brien braves the conditions
Tom O’Brien braves the conditions

However Henderson had reason to celebrate the following day when Marie's Rock won the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham, the mare's fourth successive win.

The eight-year-old will bid to become just the second horse to win back-to-back Mares' Hurdle crowns when she defends her title at the festival in March.



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