Showcase Winner Kalann Set to Return for Greatwood Handicap Hurdle 26/10/11
Some of the leading contenders in the hurdling division will also be on show at The Open in the feature race on Sunday, November 13, the £100,000 Grade Three Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm), which has attracted a top-quality entry of 45.
The extended two-mile contest has been a springboard for future champions in recent years, most notably Rooster Booster, who followed up success in the 2002 renewal with victory in the Stan James Champion Hurdle the following spring. This year’s sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Sizing Europe took the spoils in 2007.
Among those hoping to advertise their claims for the Stan James Champion Hurdle is the Nicky Henderson-trained Grandouet (9/1 favourite for the Greatwood Hurdle with Paddy
Power), who was third in last season’s Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle before beating Kumbeshwar (10/1), representing Alan King, in Punchestown’s Grade One
Henderson has also entered A Media Luz (12/1) and Gibb River (16/1), while Gary Moore could be represented by Sire de Grugy (12/1), who was a convincing winner of the Grade Two Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton in February.
Sabrina Harty is hoping that fellow four-year-old Kalann (16/1) can continue his rise through the hurdling ranks. The Barathea gelding, one of nine Irish-trained entries, posted an emphatic 14-length success over the same course and distance in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at The Showcase on October 15.
Harty revealed: “We were going to give Kalann a holiday but he came back from Cheltenham so fresh that we could well head back there for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle if the rain stays away.
“He is a May foal and he has done a lot of growing all year. The ground was a little dead when he ran at Punchestown in May and but he probably had a bit of growing to do - he looked big amongst the other horses at The Showcase, which proved that he has grown a bit through the year.
“He seemed to really enjoy running at Cheltenham - he is a bit of a showman and he loved the crowds. It’s hard to know what he beat there as he was rated higher than the others on his Flat form and I just hope that his mark doesn’t go up too much.
“It’s very hard to know how good he is at the moment but good ground is the key to him, because he can’t quicken when it’s soft. We have always thought quite a lot of him and he has taken to hurdles very easily.
“He still has a bit of strengthening up to do and he is going to be an even better horse next year. The dam’s family were a bit backward and we are hoping that he will get stronger with time.”
Nicholls may also be represented by recent Chepstow handicap hurdle scorer Domtaline (10/1), Brampour (10/1) and Sanctuaire (16/1), who captured the Grade Two Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr in April.
Overturn (16/1) has performed admirably at the highest level for trainer Donald McCain, most notably when filling the runner-up spot in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle last season, while Topolski (14/1) completed a progressive first season over hurdles with victory in the Grade Two Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National Meeting.
The Paul Flynn-trained Moon Dice (20/1), successful in the Galway Hurdle in July, Grade One Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle victor Marsh Warbler (20/1), from the stable of Brian Ellison, and the Colin Tizzard-trained Third Intention (14/1) also feature among the entries.
The weights for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle are released on Wednesday, November 2.
Greatwood Hurdle - Paddy
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