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Old Stager Fair Along Out to Land Pertemps Hurdle
06/03/13

The ultra-tough and consistent hurdler, Fair Along, will return to the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival having become a regular at the showcase event since 2006. Trainer, Philip Hobbs, expects him to run very well in the highly competitive three-mile Pertemps Handicap Hurdle on March 14, for which he is on general offer at 20/1 in Cheltenham 2013 betting lists.

Fair Along
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Fair Along

Despite having entered the veteran stage, the 11-year-old appears to retain all his enthusiasm for racing and last time out showed he is no back-number when running on bravely in the closing stages of a qualifier for the Pertemps Hurdle Final at Newbury in November. He defied a welter burden of 11st 12lbs and sprang a 33/1 shock for punters in the process.

Hobbs believes Fair Along’s first victory since landing the 2010 Grade 2 John Smith’s West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby may well be down to a change of tactics, as the habitual front-runner was dropped in by regular partner, Richard Johnson, and raced at the rear of the field for much of the three miles.

He then picked his way through runners to come with a well-timed challenge, leading at the final flight and running on well to beat Cucumber Run by nearly three lengths.

Similarly, online Cheltenham previews indicate that the same tactics are likely to be employed once again on the gelded son of Alkalde, a winner of 16 of his career starts on the Flat, over hurdles, and three times over fences as well.

Runner-up to Detroit City in the 2006 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Fair Along came back as a novice chaser the following campaign and found only My Way de Solzen too good for him in the Arkle Chase.

In 2008, he ran third to the great Master Minded in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but has failed to hit the frame at the big meeting in a number of subsequent attempts, particularly in the World Hurdle behind the awesome Big Buck’s.


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