White Moon puts reputation on the line at Sandown

Thu 7 Dec 2017

Colin Tizzard is looking forward to seeing the exciting White Moon step up in class in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Sandown on Friday.

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Registered as the Winter Novices' Hurdle, the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two has been won by the likes of Fingal Bay (2011), Taquin Du Seuil (2012) and Messire Des Obeaux (2016) in recent years. 

Point-to-point graduate White Moon made a big impression on his debut under Rules at Wincanton in October and after following up in similarly taking style at Exeter last month, Tizzard feels the time to raise his sights has arrived.

"There's good prize-money on offer and it's a lovely race," said the Dorset-based trainer.

"White Moon is a lovely horse. He's won two smaller races and now it's time to move up."

White Moon features in an eight-strong field, with Nicky Henderson's On The Blind Side, Dan Skelton's Marley Firth, the Warren Greatrex-trained Mulcahys Hill and Red River from Kim Bailey's yard also protecting unbeaten records over hurdles.

Mulcahys Hill won a point-to-point and a Stratford bumper before making a successful hurdling bow at Ffos Las last month.

Greatrex said: "He won his bumper well and he won well at Ffos Las. He is very uncomplicated, but he does appreciate very soft ground.

"He has improved since Ffos Las. It does look a hot race on paper but if it came up soft I know he will cope with it really well and he is fresh and well.

"I finished second in the race with Shantou Bob three years ago and this fellow is of a similar level."

Bailey is unsure what to expect from Red River, who bolted up by 13 lengths at Wincanton on his first start for the Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer.

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He said: "He was impressive (at Wincanton). How good the form was, I just don't know. The horse that was second has come out and run since at Cheltenham, he was favourite and didn't run particularly well. That most probably was the ground.

"Is he ready to step up to the big time, is he good enough to step up to the big time? I don't know, but he's a very nice horse, I like him and he's an out-and-out chaser.

"He's a natural athlete at home and I don't think he'd want to go on very soft ground."

Diamant Bleu (Nick Williams), Dynamite Dollars (Paul Nicholls) and Springtown Lake (Philip Hobbs) complete the line-up.

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