James Owen’s Burdett Road is on track for his Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle bid at Chepstow after his Cheltenham form received a significant boost on Saturday.
The three-year-old was formerly trained on the Flat by both Roger Varian and Michael Bell, notably taking the Golden Gates Stakes at Royal Ascot in June for the latter.
His final run on the level was a third-placed effort in the Group Three Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor in late August, after which he was gelded and sent to Owen for a juvenile hurdling campaign.
At Huntingdon in November, he was an instant success in his new career, taking a two-mile contest by an effortless 12 lengths, with the whole field strung out behind him.
Burdett Road was then stepped markedly up in level for the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham later the same month and was an impressive winner again under Harry Cobden, accelerating up the hill to secure a six-and-a-half-length victory over Jack Jones’ An Bradan Feasa.
Burdett Road became the Triumph Hurdle favourite as a result of that win, whereas Jones began to eye the Fred Winter for his well-regarded runner-up.
Both of those aspirations began to take shape at the weekend, as An Bradan Feasa returned to Cheltenham to contest a class two edition of the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle series and prevailed by three lengths.
Owen was pleased to see the prior Prestbury Park form boosted and intends to press on with his plan of running Burdett Road in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on December 27, a Grade Two in which the Gredley family have been successful before with another former Flat horse in Allmankind.
“He’s really good, I’m very happy with him,” said Owen. “He’s been training well and I was really pleased to see the horse he beat win his trial at Cheltenham at the weekend.
“It was nice and Burdett Road has trained very well himself at home since, he’s schooled well and the plan is to go to the Finale on the 27th (of December) at Chepstow – all being well.
“If the ground was really deep, we might think differently, but that’s the plan at the moment.
“He had a busy enough Flat campaign, so I’d say he’d only have one more run before Cheltenham, hopefully that’ll be at Chepstow. We want to go to Cheltenham with a fresh horse.
“That’s the route Tim and Mr (Bill) Gredley want to go, that’s the route they went with Allmankind.
“I know it’s a Grade Two now but it’s still good prize money and if we didn’t end up going there, we’d probably end up going back to Cheltenham for the trials day during January.”
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