Overland Flyer soars at Taunton for Paul Nicholls
Wednesday 11 January 2017
Overland Flyer entered the frame for the Cheltenham Festival with an emphatic performance at Taunton.
The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old earned quotes of 16-1 and 20-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle when bolting up in the Broadway & Horton Cricket Club Maiden Hurdle.
The 3-1 shot led all the way as he cruised to victory by 22 lengths from Stay Out Of Court.
An impressed winning rider Sam Twiston-Davies said: "He must be a fair animal. Hopefully he's a nice horse for the future."
Twiston-Davies' father Nigel got on the scoresheet with Calett Mad (6-4 favourite), who struck in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase under Daryl Jacob, retained rider for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
"We went very fast early doors and for the first mile he was out of his comfort zone," Jacob told At The Races.
"The better ground helped. He's only five and has time to improve."
Harry Fry took the training honours with a double courtesy of Bags Groove and Space Oddity.
Bags Groove made it third-time lucky over obstacles when landing the odds in the C&D South West Ltd 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.
A good runner-up on his two previous starts, the 1-3 shot made no mistake as he hit the front at the last and went on to score by four and a half lengths from Captain Buck's in the hands of Noel Fehily.
Space Oddity's task was made easier by the dramatic exit of Forecast in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle.
Kieron Edgar set out to make all the running on Space Oddity, but the 5-2 favourite was joined by Martin Keighley's five-year-old, who looked to be travelling the better.
However he came down, which allowed Space Oddity the chance to comfortably follow up a recent Exeter success by six lengths from Midnight Tour.