Horse retains Regal praise ahead of hurdling debut
ANTHONY Honeyball said early last year that Regal Encore was the best he had trained – and he has not changed his mind in the subsequent 18 months.
That is why he is aiming high by earmarking the Grade Two Persian War Hurdle over 2m4f at Chepstow on October 26 for the hurdling debut of the King's Theatre gelding.
The handler from Mosterton near Crewkerne said: "We know he's got an engine and we think he's up to Grade Two standard. He was electric when schooled over hurdles. He has thickened out over the summer and grown – we're very happy with him."
The five-year-old showed his quality with a splendid second place in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper last March with Tony McCoy riding for owner JP McManus.
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That was a fine training performance by Honeyball as it was Regal Encore's first outing since suffering a stress fracture when hosing up in a Chepstow bumper five months earlier.
Business is certainly booming for Honeyball and his partner/rider Rachael Green who are upwardly mobile with more than 40 horses at Potwell Farm – double the number they trained four years ago.
Ten others to keep on the right side this season with comments from the trainer:
ANDA DE GRASSYI'm really excited about this French-bred three-year-old by Network, sire of Sprinter Sacre. She showed such a good attitude in the breeze-up sale at Deauville where I bought her – she put her head down and galloped. We've got an ordinary juvenile bumper at Exeter next month in mind and then a fillies' juvenile at Newbury in December.
CHILL FACTORWon a Ffos Las bumper by seven lengths on the bridle in April and done nothing but improve since. Will have another bumper at Chepstow on October 12 or a £7,000 race at Cheltenham the following Saturday.
HORACE HAZELUnraced half-brother to our Taradrewe by Sir Harry Lewis. Powerful but not over big four-year-old.
MIDNIGHT MINXWon her first three bumpers but bogged down in the Sandown mud in a listed event. She's had niggly bits wrong with her but she's very nice and we hope to run her in listed mares' novices' hurdles.
MOVE ALONGMare placed in her two bumpers and out of a mare who won six point-to-points. Will have more bumper experience on a small track before going hurdling.
OSCARTEEAClose second in his two bumpers, including Aintree where he ran a little green but had lots more in the tank. Another bumper at either Chepstow or Ffos Las in October – or might go to Cheltenham for a listed race. Very much a future chaser.
ROYAL NATIVEKing's Theatre five-year-old placed in four of nine races. Quite strong if a little one-paced and goes for a 2m4f maiden hurdle shortly or a 3m handicap hurdle.
ROYAL SWAINWon six (four Flat, two bumpers) but disappointed on hurdling debut in June when he jumped and ran nicely but then fell in a heap. He's had another breathing op and hope we have got him back to his best.
SOLSTICE SONWell bred by 2000 Guineas winner Haafhd out of Group Three winning Aga Khan mare Karasta. Second in a Wincanton bumper last April and will have another bumper before going hurdling. Jumped fantastic the other day. Shares available in this one.
STEADY GIRLFRIENDEight-year-old placed in both novices' hurdles. Stays well, lovely nature and might go novice chasing.