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Forgotten Voice

The better ground at Kempton on Saturday saw Forgotten Voice improve markedly on his previous run on soft ground, and he put up a really impressive performance to win the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle.

The sedate pace probably played to his strengths, he is a Hunt Cup winner, he has bags of pace, and he had the ideal sit just behind the leader Brick Red, but he settled well enough considering the pace wasn’t overly strong, far better than on his previous run. Also, his jumping was good and the turn of foot that he showed to come clear after the last was really impressive.

The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding just did everything so easily back on good ground, he travelled effortlessly and he looked the likely winner at just about every stage of the race. Even when Brick Red kicked on into the home straight, Barry Geraghty didn’t appear to be overly concerned and, when he did ask Forgotten Voice to go and get to the leader after the second last flight, the horse did so readily, pinged the last and came right away with the minimum of fuss.

Susan Roy’s horse was rated 115 on the flat and, on this good ground, he could progress now to be a high-class hurdler. He is not entered in any of the novice hurdles at Cheltenham. He is in the County Hurdle, but he is probably more an Aintree horse than a Cheltenham horse. He has the pace that might be seen to best effect on good ground on a sharp flat track like Aintree. He proved that he can handle the hustle and bustle of a big field in the Hunt Cup on just his fourth ever run and, on this evidence, his jumping is likely to hold up in a big field. The Grade 2 Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree could be the race for him. Ex-flat horses have a very good record in that race, and Nicky Henderson has sent out the winner of two of the last three renewals.

23rd February 2013