Racing: Champion display from I'm Supposin

IN A YEAR in which impressive rehearsals for the Champion Hurdle have been thin on the ground, I'm Supposin's 19-length win in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton yesterday was as dramatic as they come.

Certainly many punters thought that the gelding's easy victory over Master Beveled represented Champion form and the post-race 14-1 offered by William Hill for Cheltenham was soon snapped up. I'm Supposin is now 10-1 for the Champion with that firm after starting the day at 33-1.

"We had our ground and we had a real gallop as he needed a race like that to put him spot on for the Champion Hurdle," his trainer, Richard Rowe, said. "He's a galloper and could have gone round again."

Strong Promise failed his Gold Cup test when outstayed by Go Ballistic in the Jim Ford Chase. Geoff Hubbard's gelding, attempting three miles for the first time, was still moving sweetly in the straight but faltered after jumping two out and had nothing left as Go Ballistic and Tony Dobbin powered away to score by eight lengths.

"He is still on course for the Gold Cup as that's all he's in at Cheltenham," Hubbard's assistant, Chris Kinane, said. "I would like to think we will see him better there."

Norman Williamson, his rider, said: "It took him five runs last term to get on top and I am sure he will improve for today. I might be wrong but I am happy to be on him at Cheltenham."

Strong Promise is now 25-1 from 12-1 with William Hill for the Gold Cup while the John O'Shea-trained Go Ballistic, last year's Cheltenham fourth, is 25-1 from 50-1.

l Walter Swinburn rode his first winner since returning from his 10 month break from racing at Nad al Sheba, in Dubai last night. The three- times Derby-winning jockey had a dream ride on Ragsak Jameel who strode away for a runaway six-length victory in a one and a half mile handicap. Swinburn said: "Its unbelievable to have such a great ride on only my second mount back. All I can say is that I am delighted".

Results, page 28