Ashes Enhances Supreme Novice Hurdle Credentials

Donald McCain’s bright young hurdles prospect Cinders And Ashes continued his rise through the ranks with a very impressive success at Haydock in the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novice Hurdle, beating his two decent rivals with absolute authority and stamping himself as a serious contender for honours for the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the first race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival that begins March 13, writes Elliot Slater.

Always held in very high regard by his trainer, Cinders And Ashes ran at Haydock despite fears that the heavy ground cold prove troublesome, but in the race itself the son of Beat Hollow was always travelling like a winner and only had to be given an inch of rein to take up the running from long-time leader Double Ross going to the final flight before pulling away to win by six-lengths after being heavily eased in the last 100 yards by regular pilot Jason Maguire. Those looking at the latest Cheltenham odds will have been pleased by his efforts.

The odds-on favourite, beaten a length by Broadbackbob on his hurdling bow at Ascot in November, has been unbeaten since with impressive victories at Aintree and now two at Haydock and McCain suggests his charge will not be seen again until the big race at Cheltenham in less than two months time. The winner of his first two outing in bumpers last term went on to prove himself a very useful performer in that sphere, failing by just a short-head to beat the smart Keys in a listed bumper at Cheltenham a year ago, before running a cracker in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper where he held every chance at the furlong pole before fading to finish fifth behind Cheltenian.

McCain is convinced that his horse has developed considerably and will not fade this time and bookmakers now rate him as short as 10/1 in the Betfair Cheltenham antepost betting for the race, to give the yard a flying start to the showcase fixture of the jumps season.