Jonbon made the perfect start to his career on the fences with a dominating victory in the Highflyer Bloodstock Novices’ Chase at Warwick.
Trained by Nicky Henderson, the mighty Douvan’s £570,000 full brother won his only start in the bumper sphere at Newbury and was four out of five over hurdles – his only defeat at the hands of his esteemed stablemate Constitution Hill in last season’s Supreme Novice Obstacle at Cheltenham.
After taking his own freshman year at Aintree, the JP McManus-owned five-year-old was all the rage for his seasonal reappearance and fencing bow as a 2-5 favourite, despite his two high-class rivals in his freshman compatriot. Monmiral winner and Greatwood Hurdle winner in West Cork.
There was no drag after the flag fell either, with Jonbon and Aidan Coleman and Monmiral and Harry Cobden battling for the lead in West Cork who were soon adrift of the others.
Jonbon was a bit of a novice at the first hurdle, but was otherwise accurate at his fences and was particularly impressive on the backstretch, at which point his class began to show.
Monmiral did his best to keep an eye on the leader, but Jonbon sped up from penultimate and only had to negotiate the two barriers down the straight to seal his seven-length win.
Sky Bet were suitably impressed, with the winner now leading the market for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham at 7/4.
When asked how he rated the performance out of 10, Henderson replied: “Well, that must be nine and a half, right?
The idea would be the Henry VIII and I’m two and a half weeks old, so hopefully that takes us there.
“It’s a relief and that’s what we were hoping for. He’s a pretty reliable friend and that’s what we all hoped would happen.
“He was long at the ditch, but he was still far on the other side, then at the next one he shortened, danced and walked away. At two fences he showed he could do both and at the rest , he was fantastic.
“They had a good gallop. Most of ours are racing and I don’t see why he would be any different but if he was fit enough to do what he needed to do today.
“The timing was always difficult as we couldn’t find the ideal race. The plan is Henry VIII at Sandown (December 3), but it’s quite tight.
“Fortunately he didn’t have a tough race, but keep in mind these good horses don’t do that without putting a lot into it and he’s on edge and sweating a bit – he puts it all in.
“The idea would be the Henry VIII and I’ve got two and a half weeks so hopefully that gets us there.”