Kerry Lee’s Nemean Lion has the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle in his sights after a pleasing victory on seasonal debut at Ffos Las.
The six-year-old was a Grade Two-winning novice last season when taking Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso but still looked to have taken strides forward with an assured round of jumping in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.
The latter run under rider Richard Patrick has seen his rating rise to 140, the mark he will carry at Cheltenham on November 19.
“He’s entered in the Greatwood, he’s had a pop this morning and he seems in great form,” said Lee.
“We’re very happy with the way he’s come out (of Ffos Las), he’s gone up 5lb so he goes into the Greatwood off 140 – onwards and upwards hopefully.
“He did everything right, he was much more the professional and it was really reassuring to see that, having been quite so novicey in his novice season.
“We’ve worked hard, Richard has worked hard to hone his jumping technique and he looked to really enjoy himself and relish the hurdles.”
Alongside a Grade Two success last term, Nemean Lion was also third in the Grade One Tolworth, though Lee is mindful that the gelding will need to step forward again if he is to mix it in the same company this year.
“For that to happen he’d need to be rated a little higher, so we’d need a good run in the Greatwood and then we can really look and see how to shape our season,” she said.
“The Greatwood isn’t the be-all and end-all and if the ground doesn’t lend itself then there are options, but for now we’ll focus on that and see what happens.”