Thyme Hill and Urban Artist land back-type races at the November meeting.
Kayf Tara’s exciting young hurdler Thyme Hill continued his winning run with victory in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle as Cheltenham’s November meeting started a day late following torrential rain earlier in the week.
The five-year-old, trained by Philip Hobbs for owners The Englands and Heywoods, coped well with the soft conditions to post a three-length win in the hands of champion jockey Richard Johnson. This was Thyme Hill’s second consecutive win at Grade 2 level following his success in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow in October. In his debut season, he won a Ludlow bumper in his first start before finishing runner-up in a listed Cheltenham bumper then third to Envoi Allen in the G1 Champion Bumper at the Festival.
“He’s not the biggest, but he’s very genuine and very tough,” said Philip Hobbs after Thyme Hill’s win, and he indicated that he will likely be aimed next at the G1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas.
Bred by Overbury Stud, he is a son of the winning Hernando mare Rosita Bay, whose previous matings with Kayf Tara resulted in the bumper, hurdles and chase winner Storming Strumpet. The mare now has a yearling colt by Dunaden and filly foal by Jack Hobbs.
A member of Cityscape’s first crop, Urban Artist, also made a name for herself at Cheltenham on Saturday when storming to victory in the Listed mares’ bumper for Hughie Morrison and owners Pangfield Racing V.
The four-year-old filly came into the race following a win at Ludlow in early October. She is the second live foal of Cill Rialig (Environment Friend), who was also a Listed bumper winner who went on to win on the Flat, and she was bred by Moran & Billington.