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Out with the old, in with the new 01/05/09

No sooner has the brand new jumps season started than up springs another bumper winner for Kayf Tara. Five-year-old gelding Double Expresso now holds the distinction of being his sire’s first winner for the 2009/10 campaign having saluted first time out at Southwell on 29 April.

Bred by W and J Aitken, Double Expresso is out of Sallys Lodge (Roscoe Blake), a half-sister to G2 hurdles winner Bosuns Mate. The debutant won the 2m1f bumper by eight lengths and was described by Racing Post analysts as ‘a scopey type….and he looks a potentially useful prospect’.

Double Expresso goes into the notebook for the year ahead and there are plenty of his paternal half-siblings who are likely to appear in ten-to-follow lists as the season really gets underway in the autumn.

Casting our minds back over the season which concluded at Sandown last Saturday, Kornati Kid became Kayf Tara’s first Graded steeplechase winner when landing the G2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby in January. Victory at this level was swiftly emulated by Carruthers, wide-margin winner of the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot and previously a G2 winner over hurdles in 2008.

Planet Of Sound triumphed in two novice chases before being placed at both the Cheltenham Festival and at Aintree in the Arkle Chase and John Smith’s Novices’ Chase respectively. Another consistent performer from the Philip Hobbs stable was the G2-winning hurdler Tarablaze, whose four outings last season resulted in three wins and a second.

Katies Tuitor kept up his successful streak with another two hurdle victories, including the Listed Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen, and it would be no surprise to see the six-time winner boost his tally yet further throughout the summer months of 2009. The much talked-about giant Mad Max struck twice over hurdles to add to his two bumper victories of the previous season while the tough little mare Give It Time claimed another two Listed hurdle victories during a busy campaign.

Clan Tara was yet another new Stakes winner last term when landing the G2 Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at Thurles in February and Touch Of Irish built on his bumper success of the previous year with a 16-length hurdles victory at Kelso in March.

Special mention must go to two dual-purpose performers by Kayf Tara: Kayf Aramis and Ragdollianna. Having twice won on the flat at consecutive York May meetings, Kayf Aramis’s conversion to hurdles under the care of Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams saw him become his sire’s first ever Cheltenham festival winner in the Listed Pertemps Final, a win which brought up his jumping hat-trick within a month. Ragdollianna started her winning in a bumper at Southwell last June and then went on to score twice on the flat in August.