Haydock next for Ranch Hand

Andrew Balding has earmarked Haydock as the next port of call for his talented jumps recruit Ranch Hand.

The Dunaden gelding will be given the chance to follow up his debut victory over timber at Exeter when he travels to Merseyside for an introductory hurdle on December 2.

Ranch Hand had previously finished the Flat season on a winning note in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket.

Balding said: “He jumped well, and that’s the main thing. He was a bit eager early on but he might have been a bit fresh, because he had a little bit of a break from his last run on the Flat.

“He got a bit tired near the end, but the plan will be to keep him over hurdles for the time being. He is a decent horse

“All being well, he will head to Haydock on December 2.”

A step up in trip is on the agenda for stablemate Diocletian, who finished fourth on his hurdling debut at Taunton.

Balding said: “Diocletian ran fine and he jumped well. He needs further, and probably a more galloping track would suit him.

“It was not a bad starting point for him, because the main thing was his jumping – which he was fine with.”

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