Jonbon© Photo Healy Racing
Jonbon was much the best and had little trouble in the winning the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
In a field of four for the Grade Two highlight on the final day of the November Meeting, Nicky Henderson’s gelding was joined by Edwardstone, Nube Negra and Editeur Du Gite – all good horses in their own right.
Jonbon was the 4-9 favourite under Nico de Boinville as regular rider Aidan Coleman has not yet recovered from injury.
The duo hit their stride early and disputed the lead with Editeur Du Gite, but it was not long before Jonbon pushed to the fore and from there he was never going to be caught and strode to a straightforward success from Edwardstone, who has the best part of 10 lengths in arrears.
“The back-end of the last season, after the Arkle, we were dying to go two and a half (miles),” said Henderson.
“The two-mile novice at Aintree was much the easier race and then 13 days later he went to Sandown (Celebration Chase) and that was to find out if he was a two-miler against the second, third and fourth in the Champion Chase.
“He didn’t wait for them. He does look like a two-miler there, he’s got to stay there for now because of the Tingle Creek (at Sandown on December 9). Two and a half looks like it’s getting further away, I’m sure he’d stay but why go there if you don’t have to?
“He had the race (won) when he quickened off the bend as they were going to be pushed to get him from there.
“I thought he was great, we’ll see what everyone else wants to give him!”
He added: “His only two defeats have come here, one was Constitution Hill (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and one was El Fabiolo (Arkle Trophy). If we can convince Willie (Mullins, trainer of El Fabiolo) to stay in Ireland we can have a rematch (in March).
“I think he’s grown up a lot. Anything strange to him he goes ‘help’, but once he has done it once he is fine. He is not as bad as he was.
“You have to be very pleased. He was just pricking his ears on the run-in and I could see those two great big ears lock on. He has had a nice time and has enjoyed himself. He should come on for it.
“He went and had a walk around Newbury the other day before racing. He walked around one lap of the parade ring and was then out and home. It is all part of his preparation. Today he travelled well and all the team are here.”