£20,000 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle 2m 179y
The 1/10 favourite Apple's Shakira (Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) had little difficulty in maintaining her unbeaten record when landing the opening JCB Triumph Trial Hurdle.
Apple's Shakira on her to winning the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
Knight Destroyer (Jonjo O'Neill/Aidan Coleman, 20/1) took the field along with Apple's Shakira settling in second. The three-year-old filly made smooth headway to take the lead turning for home. She faced a challenge from Nube Negra (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton, 11/1) approaching the last but had little difficulty in seeing off that rival, extending well to score by a very comfortable three and a half lengths.
Nicky Henderson said: "Apple's Shakira was a bit keener today. She has woken up quite a bit at home since her first run and was quite keen. There wasn't a lot of pace or cover but she has enjoyed herself. I liked the way she came away nicely and she jumped very well - she is very slick.
"I think you have to like everything that she has done. She had to do that and you rather expect it when they are that price but you are pleased when it is over.
"She is going the right way and there is a long time until March. You would certainly want to run her again beforehand - she has only had three races in her whole life - and I would like to see her in a bigger field, where you could put her to sleep a little bit more.
"It's all very nice winning races like that but it is going to be more competitive come March and she will need to be learning to race in a bigger field. We will what we can find for her. The Finale at Chepstow might come a bit quick and it's not my favourite place, but we will see."
Barry Geraghty added: "Apple's Shakira was in my hands and wanting to get on with the job today. There was only one horse in front, so you probably don't have as much cover as you would normally get in a more competitive race, but she did everything that I wanted - she jumped brilliantly, travelled well and did as much as she had to do.
"I thought Aidan Coleman brought us along at a good gallop. I was happy to let him go from the back of three out and give my filly a chance - it was a nice, even race.
"She travelled way better today but her work at home has been that way as well, so she is going the right way. She is plucky - she winged the last three and knuckled away on the outside."