Jeriko Du Reponet shines for Henderson on opening day of the Coral Gold Cup weekend

By Peter Moore at Newbury 1st December 2023

Nicky Henderson looks to have another highly impressive youngster on his hands  in Jeriko Du Reponet who bolted up in the opening race on Coral Long Distance Hurdle Day at a bitterly cold Newbury on Friday.

The four year old comfortably won the National Hunt Maiden Hurdle Race over 2m and half a furlong with supreme ease.

A day before the race Henderson laughed off the fact that the horse was already made a 12-1 chance in the forthcoming Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle, before even making his rules debut with the Lambourne trainer stating it was  “absolutely stark raving ridiculous” before he had even made his way to post.

Henderson who has a terrific record in this race having saddled the winner  no less than seven timers in the past ten years, was a smiling man after the success of the JP Mcmanus gelding who beat King William Rufus by three and a quarter lengths at the short price of 4-11.

Hermes Allen with Harry Cobden in the saddle was an impressive winner in the Coral John Francome Novice Steeple Chase after beating Nickle Back by six and a half lengths for the stable of Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls and stable jockey Cobden completed a double when Kandoo Kid landed the 2m 4f handicap chase later in the day.

In form Irish trainer Gordon Elliott landed the Listed fillies juvenile hurdle with Wodhooh and in so doing gave the Irish trainer his very first winner at Newbury.

Elliott had saddled just eight runners at the track prior to breaking his duck with the The Sundowners Partnership-owned daughter of Le Havre.

Trainer Sam Thomas registered a winner in the 3mile handicap hurdle with Ed Keeper.

The trainer, who has two live chances in the Coral Gold Cup on Saturday with Our Power and Stolen Silver, said: “I was very impressed and he’s a lovely horse for the future. Our main aim will be chasing next season and hopefully he can line up in a Coral Gold Cup one day.”

The feature race on the card The Coral Long Distance Hurdle Race was won by the Jeremy Scott trained Dashel Drasher who just managed to hold off the veteran Paisley Park in an epic battle.

Dashel Drasher had not won for more than a year, but he put that stat to bed by fending off the gritty challenge of the popular eleven year old Paisley Park by a head under Rex Dingle.

The hugely popular Paisley Park went down fighting and received a round of applause on his return to the parade ring.

Scott said: “It’s a very special moment for us. We were beginning to wonder if he had the same sparkle as he’d been beaten so many times, albeit narrowly, last season.

“To come here and battle that out with dear old Paisley Park, who is a brilliant horse, was fitting. Whichever horse had won, it would have been a great story.

“He’s still full of beans at home, but had to do it on the racecourse.”

A disappointed trainer of Paisley Park Emma Lavelle said after the race she was immensely proud of Paisley Park’s run.

“I think if I shout louder I might have a chance of getting him across that line, but I gave it some today,” his trainer Emma Lavelle said.

“He’s run an amazing race, and the key thing today was if he still had the fire in his belly and I think categorically you can say he has. He jumped and travelled and we had a penalty and hadn’t had a prep race.

“He’s been beaten a head so it was a fantastic effort and we’re immensely proud, while I’m eternally grateful to my husband [Barry Fenton] for riding him every day and he has done a fantastic job getting the horse to where he is today.

“I’m so proud, but also frustrated, although I’m delighted for everyone connected with Dashel Drasher.”