The recent changes to the entry rules for bumpers that were announced by the BHA have caused a bit of a stir. Limiting those races to horses aged 5 and under has no doubt been made to try to encourage more horses to start their hurdles career at an earlier stage, but in my opinion it’s a small change that won’t really address some of the more significant issues around Novice hurdles. The Graded bumpers held at the major spring festivals are a target for some of the major yards, but the vast majority of horses who make their debuts in a Bumper don’t get anywhere near the festivals and to rule out 6-year-olds from starting their careers in these races is not likely to have a great impact on the sport as a whole. The Champion Bumper always seem to work to as pieces of form and in my opinion, Facile Vega and American Mike could prove to be the 2 best horses to have competed in that contest in time, but they won’t be the only ones. There will be plenty who find the 2-mile trip inadequate, but who will go on to excel once they step up in distance and it is one of my favourite angles for the future.
France has a different model. The majority of NHF races are limited to AQPS bred horses and are restricted to age, with 3-year-olds competing in the majority, whilst some races are left open to 4 and 5-year-olds, even if they have some experience over hurdles. Much like the UK, there are Pattern races too, held at Saint-Cloud, Paris Longchamp and a few other tracks, they offer some big pots to aim at for connections of the most promising types and it is from these races that todays French recruit comes. Unlike the UK, Flat jockeys ride the majority of these AQPS races in France and todays horse has been ridden by none other than Christophe Soumillon on his last 2 starts. Like many others in this series, given that he has form in Pattern company, this horse would be all the rage if he was in Closutton or Seven Barrows, but the fact that he has joined Tom George has largely slipped under the radar despite the promising start he has made to his career.
INEDIT STAR (Tom George)
Sold for €160,000 at the Grand Steeple Sale in May, he has already won 2 of his 4 career starts and has amassed over €23,000 in prize money. A winner on debut at Saint-Brieuc, he finished a respectable 6th in the Group 1 Prix Jacques de Vienne at Saint-Cloud in November, beaten just over 7-lengths. That race has thrown up several nice winners since and Inedit Star did his part to boost the form by winning at Angers on his return in February. He beat a pair of Fillies who now have Black type on their CVs on that occasion (Hollee and Harmonie Sainte) and showed that was no fluke when he went on to finish 2nd in the Group 3 Prix Bango at Saint-Cloud on his final start for the Paysan yard in March. He made the running on that occasion and looked likely to finish well beaten when he was headed by the closing pack at the 2-furlong pole, but he showed a really game and willing attitude to stick to his task and was only beaten a length at the line. All of his races are littered with subsequent winners and he has one of the strongest form lines on offer from the AQPS sphere in the last 12-months.
He has a reasonable page, with his half-sister Harmonie Star perhaps the most notable, with a pair of Group 3 AQPS wins on her CV. His Sire, Lord du Sud, has produced the likes of Activial and Stolen Silver and so there is plenty of reason to believe that Inedit Star will improve, both when he goes over obstacles and perhaps more importantly when he gets to step up in trip. He certainly created that impression when battling on so well at Saint-Cloud. Following the sale, Tom George told Jour de Galop “Inédit Star was impressive during his victory at Angers. He was ridden by Christophe Soumillon, who has the same agent as James Reveley. He is a very good looking horse with the profile to go jumping. Inedit Star is going on vacation to England. Afterwards, the owner will decide if he will race in England or in France. He will wear the colours of Crossed Fingers Partnership”. The yard has had some recent success in France and so it is not impossible to think that he could be campaigned there, but given his profile and game attitude, a stiff finish over a longer trip in the UK could be the ideal place for him to reach his full potential.