/ Racing

Captain defies drift to take Tolworth Hurdle

Updated: Saturday, 07 Jan 2012 17:18

Captain Conan (blue cap) - took advantage of Colour Squadron (green cap) drifting on the run-in to win the Tolworth Hurdle
Captain Conan (blue cap) - took advantage of Colour Squadron (green cap) drifting on the run-in to win the Tolworth Hurdle

Captain Conan defied a drift in the market to make his first start in England a winning one, and in Grade One company no less, in the 32Red Hurdle, registered as the Tolworth.

Nicky Henderson's French import had a big reputation but is apparently a chaser in the making and he drifted out from 7-2 to 9-1.

Colour Squadron attempted to make all and with favourite Prospect Wells proving a bitter disappointment, it appeared he just had to jump the last to win.

However, he hung badly to his left, allowing Barry Geraghty and his mount a chance to capitalise and a big leap at the last gave him every chance.

With Colour Squadron proving difficult to keep straight, Captain Conan ran on gamely to win by a short head.

Geraghty said: "This is the first time I've sat on him, the boss was very keen and he wasn't wrong."

On Colour Squadron jinking, Geraghty said: "He did but maybe the company would have helped this fella too, he was very green and will improve a lot."

Henderson said: "It did seem a funny place to start him off but there was method in it as the owners were over for the weekend and he is a very, very talented horse.

"I imagine it will be hard to persuade them not to run him somewhere in March, but Barry and I think it could be a year too soon.

"He'll be in there but I'm not committing him to it (Cheltenham) as he's really just a chaser."

Sarah Hobbs, wife of trainer Philip, who handles Colour Squadron, said: "He was very green and hung badly. I suppose he has thrown it away because he's lost a lot of ground."

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