WARWICK RACEDAY NEWS: Espoir De Teillee might head to Aintree after springing a 25-1 surprise in Warwick’s Budbrooke Handicap Chase

Published 2021/02/26

Johnny Burke feels there is a Graded performance in Espoir De Teillee yet, after the nine year old returned from a wind op to spring a 25-1 surprise in the Budbrooke Handicap Chase.

Tom George’s charge had not been seen since being well held on his reappearance at Aintree in November but travelled well into affairs on just his fourth start over fences and saw off a useful field to record a one and three quarter length success.

And although Espoir De Teillee does not have any entries next month at The Festival supporting WellChild at Cheltenham, his jockey Johnny Burke feels that there could be a nice race in him at some point.

Speaking after the race, he said:

“It was a very good performance. He’s a horse that’s had his problems and he’s lightly-raced, but when he’s good and on a going day he’s very good.

“He jumped well today and got into the race nicely. He’s just a horse who needs confidence. He filled me with confidence today and it was pleasing to see him find for pressure after the last, so it was good.

“If he can get on a roll and keep sound and well, there’s no reason why he can’t keep on progressing. The feel he gave me was one of a graded horse, and a flat track like Aintree could suit him.”

Several caught the eye in behind the winner, including the Nicky Henderson-trained Precious Cargo, who jumped the last level with the eventual winner on his first start for 108 days, before just fading away in the closing stages.

Henderson was encouraged with what he saw from the eight year old, who holds an entry in next month’s Paddy Power Plate at Cheltenham.

He said: “I was pleased with him. It was his first run for a long time, but he’s a lovely big horse and the sadness is if he could breathe properly he’d be a very good horse.

“It was his first run since we’ve done about the sixth wind operation on him to try and repair it and you could see how easily he tanked into the race. But unfortunately he doesn’t breathe well enough to finish. It was his first run for a long time in very sticky ground today and we’ll have to see how he comes out of it.”

Another further behind the winner with entries for the spring is Blaklion, who could line up in the Randox Grand National for Dan Skelton.

The 12 year old will require a little bit of luck to sneak into the race off his allocated weight of 10st 2lbs, but Skelton was encouraged with what he saw on only Blaklion’s second start for the yard.

He said: “I thought he was really good actually. He was running over an inadequate trip, but he’s an older horse and we’re prepping him for the Grand National, so I didn’t want to get him really tired over three miles when he’s had a setback over the winter.

“He’s a lovely horse and we’ll give him one more run and then go for the Grand National as long as he gets in – but it was good to see him with plenty of enthusiasm.”

Meanwhile, Henderson was also pleased with the run of the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fifth Claimantakinforgan, who was having his first start for 831 days. He said: Daryl (Jacob) was pleased with him.

He jumped well and travelled well for a long way, and got his second wind and then got tired.

He wouldn’t want to be going to Cheltenham, but he could have a good spring campaign because he loves fast ground.”