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Kayf Tara on a winning Mission

Space Mission and Mad Max became the latest success stories in what is fast becoming a boom season for his sire Kayf Tara, when both six-year-olds scored with ease this week.

Space Mission landed the Peter Cullis Novices’ Hurdle (Div 1) at Huntingdon on Wednesday, 23 January. Runner-up at the track in the Boxing Day Bumper of 2006, this was his first outing over hurdles and he made light work of the testing conditions under promising young jockey William Kennedy to hold off last-time-out winner I Have Dreamed.

The vibes from Seven Barrows had been very positive ahead of Mad Max’s first run in a Bumper at Newbury on Friday, 25 January and Nicky Henderson’s judgement was proved correct as the debutant, described in the Racing Post as ‘a really big, strong gelding who very much took the eye’, duly sailed home.

Space Mission was a €70,000 foal, bought at Tattersalls Ireland by Aiden Murphy, who also purchased one of Kayf Tara’s two Graded hurdles winners to date, Venalmar. Winner of the G2 Slaney Novices’ Hurdle at Naas on 6 January, Venalmar looks a likely contender to be in Mouse Morris’ raiding party when it sets sail for Cheltenham in March and may well come face-to-face with his paternal half-brother Carruthers in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle. Morris claims the three-time winner is one of the best horses he has trained – high praise indeed considering he also has Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition on his books.

Another promising runner to look forward to is the Noel Meade-trained dual winner Sigma Digital, who is poised to run in the G2 Toshiba Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday, 27 January and also holds an entry for the G1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at the same track next month.

With 19 winners to his name so far this season, Kayf Tara is currently the leading British-based National Hunt sire by prize-money won. As his eldest runners are still only six, it’s safe to conclude that he will remain among the leaders for years to come.