Tritonic made it two from two over hurdles on Saturday with an impressive success in the Grade 2 Close Brothers Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton Park.
The son of Sea The Moon was rated 99 for Alan King on the Flat and put that speed to good use, travelling well behind the leaders under Adrian Heskin before swooping approaching the last and quickening clear for a ten-length victory as the 5/6 favourite.
Casa Loupi finished second, a length-and-a-half ahead of Paso Doble in third.
William Hill responded by cutting Tritonic into 4/1 from 8s for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
“You’d like to think Cheltenham would suit,” Alan King, celebrating his fifth win in the Adonis, told ITV Racing. “I thought he won at Ascot [on his hurdling debut] through stamina. He would have learnt plenty today – I’ve always said we wanted two runs if we wanted a proper crack at the Triumph so it’s all gone very well.
“Just once or twice through the race, Adrian had to squeeze him and he came straight back on to the bridle. He was very neat and tidy over the hurdles and he hit the line well.”
He added: “He’s definitely the highest rated Flat horse we’ve sent hurdling. He had a good six-week break after his Flat campaign and he was only just ready to start back at Ascot. We felt that he had really come forward from that run.
“The Irish horses look very strong but right now I wouldn’t swap him in the Triumph.”
Owned by the McNeill family and Ian Dale, Tritonic was bred in Britain by Kirsten Rausing and shares his young sire Sea The Moon with the Grade 1-winning chaser and hurdler Allmankind.
11th Pendil success for Nicholls
Tamaroc Du Marathon justified favouritism in the Grade 2 Close Brothers Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton to hand trainer Paul Nicholls an 11th success in the race.
The six-year-old was no match for Shishkin on his previous start when second in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase over two miles during Kempton’s Christmas meeting. However, with no runner of that calibre facing him within a four-runner field on this occasion, he was sent off the even-money favourite and duly took the step up to an extended two-and-a-half miles in his stride to run out the near four-length winner over Ga Law.
Despite the ease of his victory, Nicholls seems likely to resist the temptation to send Tamaroc Du Marathon to next month’s Cheltenham Festival as the trainer explained to ITV Racing.
“He’s a nice horse, he’s just needed plenty of time,” he said. “I think he’ll progress. I guess we’ll look at Aintree or possibly Ayr for him. I think Cheltenham comes quick enough but two-and-a-half round a flat track like Aintree should suit him well.”
Now a three-time winner, Tamaroc Du Marathon was bred in France by Jean-Marie Baradeau. He is the latest high-profile jumper for the late Haras d’Etreham stallion Poliglote, also the sire of Nicholls’ top two-mile jumper Politologue, and out of the stakes-placed jumper Thisbee Du Mathan, by Turgeon.
Also at Kempton, Irish raider Cape Gentleman outbattled Calico to land a game win in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle.
Calico looked to have his rival’s measure following a good jump at the last but Cape Gentleman found more under Jonjo O’Neill junior for a game half-length success. The pair pulled seven-and-a-half lengths clear of the third Lunar Sovereign.
Cape Gentleman, who was successful in the Irish Cesarewitch for trainer Emmet Mullins last autumn, holds entries in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
“He’s a very strong stayer,” O’Neill told ITV Racing. “He’s obviously won over two and a half and two miles round here would be sharp enough. He’s won nicely there and battled hard. I’m very happy with him and he’s entitled to go to Cheltenham now.”
The gelding was bred in Ireland by Skymarc Farm out of the Galileo mare Hawaiian Heat and sired during Champs Elysees’ penultimate season at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket. Champs Elysees switched to Coolmore’s jumps division at Castlehyde Stud in 2017 and died in December 2018.