Mohican Festival plans on hold

First Mohican: Disappointed at Kempton

A trip to the Cheltenham Festival is “on the back burner” for First Mohican following his disappointing display in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.

A smart performer on the level for the late Sir Henry Cecil and his widow Lady Jane, First Mohican made an impressive start to his jumping career for Alan King when scoring at the first time of asking at Doncaster in early February.

He was expected to play a leading role when stepped up to Grade Two level, but his limitations appeared to be exposed as he came home a well beaten fourth behind the hugely impressive Irving.

First Mohican holds an entry in Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month, but his owner Henry Ponsonby admits his charge is unlikely to line up in the Festival curtain-raiser.

Ponsonby said: “We were definitely disappointed, as we were anticipating improvement from his run at Doncaster and unfortunately that wasn’t forthcoming.

“I think he’s probably run to the same level as he did at Doncaster. If he was facing the same opponents again yesterday I think he’d have won, but we knew he needed to improve about 20lb and I’m afraid he hasn’t.

“Clearly he’s no Irving, but he had some good horses around him and I think it’s a bit early to write him off just yet.

“I wouldn’t say Cheltenham is definitely out, but it’s on the back burner.

“We could skip Cheltenham and wait for something like Aintree, but we’ll see.

“His jumping was a bit novicey, but we’ll keep going over hurdles with him and I think there will be some nice prizes for him on the Flat as well.”


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