3 minute read
James Owen enjoyed a first Cheltenham winner when Burdett Road sauntered to success in the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle.
The son of Muhaarar landed the Golden Gates Stakes at Royal Ascot in summer and he created a deep impression when scoring by twelve lengths on his hurdling bow at Huntingdon.
Up against six other previous winners and Milan Tino, who brought good form from France, plenty of questions were going to be asked and Burdett Road answered them all emphatically.
Sent off a 9-4 chance, he was ridden incredibly confidently by Harry Cobden, who managed to avoid the carnage created at the first flight by Parish Star.
An Bradan Feasa slipped the field turning in, but Cobden sat motionless before asking for an effort approaching the last and despite not meeting that on a good stride, he had so much left he was able to quicken up smartly, going up the hill to win by six and a half lengths.
"When he won at Huntingdon, he was keen and did everything the wrong way," said Owen.
"We had to do one of two things today, either make the running or drop him in and we all decided we would drop him in, and Harry has given him a lovely, cool ride. He will have learned a lot on the way round.
"With the rain coming last night, I was so nervous this morning, but for a Flat horse he is tough and God, didn't he come up that hill well.
"He is a very tough horse and exciting going forward, this was a Triumph trial and that is our aim. On good ground, he is going to be exciting. He may go to Chepstow or the Adonis.
"He is the one we are waking up for every morning and looking forward to seeing him again."
Cobden said: "James gave me a free hand and we made the decision to drop him in as he was too free at Huntingdon and if he is going to be a good horse then he is going to need to learn how to race properly. He's a very classy horse isn't he.
"He missed a few hurdles on the way round and could easily have got keen. I was just trying to put him into the bottom of them, so I didn't light him up with a good jump.
"He's obviously a good horse and March is very much agenda now.
"I was still on the bridle [coming down the hill] and I suppose that is what it's like if you are Paul Townend!
"It was really nice and he's a proper little horse, he winged the second last and had a dream run though. You can go for gaps that possibly aren't really there on a horse that isn't travelling quite so well and when I pushed the button turning in, he jumped the last and quickened up nicely.
"Paul [Nicholls] has a few nice juveniles but none probably as good as that."
Paddy Power were impressed with the performance, going 12/1 from 20/1 before swiftly cutting the James Owen contender to 7/1.