Jefferson Mulling Options Ahead of Northwest Racing Masters
Trainer Malcolm Jefferson is looking forward to seeing According To Pete take his chance in the £100,000 Betfair “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle (1.05pm), run over three miles at Haydock Park on Saturday, November 22, the first day of the Northwest Racing Masters.
The seven-year-old is returning to the smaller obstacles following a brace of victories in novice chases at Hexham on October 3 and November 7. The gelding ran with great credit in handicap hurdles last season, including a close third behind subsequent Coral Cup winner Naiad Du Misselot and Grade Two runner-up Regal Heights in the Central Sports Health & Fitness Qualifications Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in December, 2007.
He went on to finish third in the Listed Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival before filling the same spot in the Listed John Smith's Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle at Aintree’s John Smith’s Grand National meeting in April.
Jefferson said: “We’ve entered According To Pete in the Betfair “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle and he’s a possibility for the race if the ground rides soft on Saturday. The softer the going the better for him.
“He’s in fine form and he’s come out of his last race in good shape. He’s the type of horse who doesn’t mind switching between fences and hurdles and the Betfair “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle looks like a good race for him.
“He’s a good little horse and he showed his ability over hurdles at Cheltenham and Aintree last season. He also finished third behind a couple of good horses at Haydock Park last December and he’s a decent, versatile horse. He goes there in good heart and should run his race providing the ground is to his liking.”
Jefferson is also considering whether to let Roman Ark bid for a repeat victory in the £35,000 Thanks To Betfair Stevenage Handicap Chase (3.15pm). The 10-year-old was pulled up in his latest start in a Grade Two chase at Exeter on his seasonal debut but had previously shown a high level of form, including victory in a Grade Two novices’ hurdle at Haydock Park in January, 2005.
Malton-based Jefferson continued: “We’ve also entered Roman Ark in the Thanks To Betfair Stevenage Handicap Chase, and he would need the ground to be soft to take his chance. He won the same race last year when it was heavy going and he’s a better horse on that sort of ground.
“The ground was quick enough at Exeter last time out. It was a very hot race and he probably needed that run anyway. He’s a grand horse but he keeps paying for his consistency. He’s 4lb higher than when he won at Haydock Park last year but I would still be hopeful that he would run well if he took his chance.”
Another horse from the Jefferson stable, Brooklyn Brownie has a choice of engagements at the Northwest Racing Masters, with both the £80,000 totesuper7 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (1.40pm) at Aintree on Sunday and the £50,000 Timeform Betfair Racing Club Handicap Chase (2.45pm) at Haydock Park on Saturday as possible targets.
The nine-year-old finished ninth on his latest start in a handicap chase at Cheltenham in October but enjoyed a profitable summer over the jumps, winning a valuable handicap chase at Perth at the start of June before coming home second in the Listed Summer Plate at Market Rasen in mid-July.
Jefferson is eager to give Brooklyn Brownie a chance to run over the National fences and sees his chaser as just the type who could return to Aintree in April for a shot at the John Smith’s Grand National.
He continued: “Brooklyn Brownie holds entries in both the totesuper7 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and the Timeform Betfair Racing Club Handicap Chase. We will see how the races look nearer the time before deciding but I am keen to let him have a crack over the National fences. He’s in grand form.
“I think he will take to the Aintree fences and I would like to think that he is a possible for the big one in April. He’s handicapped to just sneak into the field for the John Smith’s Grand National and I would consider the race for him if he ran well on Sunday.
“He’s a great age for the John Smith’s Grand National, being nine, but I would be keen to see if he took to the fences before deciding whether to return in April.
“I was slightly disappointed with his latest run at Cheltenham but it was possibly quicker ground than ideal - he might be a better horse these days with a bit of cut. He certainly enjoyed his runs throughout the summer and he’s a great jumper so I would be hopeful of a good run if he went over the National fences on Sunday.”
The highlight of Haydock Park’s superb card on Saturday is the £225,000 Grade One Betfair Chase while the £120,000 Listed totesport.com Becher Chase, which is also run over the famous Grand National fences, is the feature race of Aintree’s action on Sunday.
About the Northwest Racing Masters
Located in one of the most vibrant regions in the country, the Northwest Racing Masters meeting offers a great opportunity to discover England's northwest. It is an ideal time to combine a love of racing with a visit to Liverpool and the rest of the region.
Haydock Park, St Helens, one of the most visited racecourses in the UK, offers first class racing all year round. It is located half-way between Liverpool and Manchester, just off junction 23 of the M6 motorway.
Aintree Racecourse is home to the John Smith's Grand National and is between Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008, and Southport - the perfect destination for a weekend break with beautiful beaches, great attractions and superb shopping.
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