I believe Tom thinks a fair bit of him, so hopefully he can go well on his hurdling debut, for all that he meets some horses who already set a fair standard for him to aim at. He has shown himself to be a very smart bumper horse with two wins from three starts, and you can easily argue that his second at Cheltenham in November was his best effort to date. He is a big, strapping sort so, physically he certainly looks the type to continue to shine over hurdles and fences. I have actually schooled him at home in the past, and he felt well when I had another sit on him on Wednesday.
This race has cut up to just four runners, so hopefully my horse will be hard to beat getting 6lb from the winners. Fergal’s horses are just beginning to hit form again – he had a double on Thursday – and Ocean Cove has done well to finish runner-up in his bumper and novice hurdle to date. I think his second at Exeter last time was a fair effort and hopefully he will have come on for that. He worked and schooled nicely on Thursday morning, and he will handle the ground. And let’s hope a first-time tongue-tie helps him as well.
I rode him when he won his bumper at Catterick a few years ago – in fact, it will be four years to the day on Saturday – and he clearly had his problems before getting back on the track a couple of seasons ago and winning at Towcester. He fell on his return after another long break at Wetherby over Christmas, which obviously isn’t ideal, but the handicapper has dropped him 5lb since and trip and ground will suit.
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