Morrison wants rain to aid Not So Sleepy’s Kempton bid

Hughie Morrison is keeping his fingers crossed for a rainy Christmas Day ahead of Not So Sleepy’s outing in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

The nine-year-old posted a career best effort when dead-heating with Epatante to share Grade One glory in last month’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

That race was run in testing conditions with snow falling throughout the day, but Kempton is expected to provide a different examination with the ground currently described as good, with rain forecast before the race.

Epatante (left) and Not So Sleepy (second right) shared the Fighting Fifth honours
Epatante (left) and Not So Sleepy (second right) shared the Fighting Fifth honours (Tim Goode/PA)

Morrison said: “It’s the only real option for him now that he has won a Grade One. We are a bit reticent about the ground as we would like plenty of rain, but we have what we have got.

“He had a hard race at Newcastle and he has not had that hard a race for a while, but then I think everything did as you saw the third (Sceau Royal) run two weeks later and he didn’t run any sort of race.

“He seems in good order though and we are looking forward to it, but I just hope they have a very wet Christmas Day there.

“The ground is far more critical than the track as soft ground just takes a bit of the edge off the other horse’s speed.”

Tritonic was a winner at Ascot last Saturday
Tritonic was a winner at Ascot last Saturday (Nigel French/PA)

Six remain in contention for the Christmas Hurdle, with last weekend’s Ascot winner Tritonic set to make a swift reappearance, while Soaring Glory would be seeking redemption after a disappointing effort at Newbury last time.

Morrison has full respect for that pair, along with the reopposing Epatante.

He added: “Epatante on better ground will be difficult to beat, especially with her mares’ allowance.

“Tritonic is improving though and he is looking back to being the horse that won the Haynes, Hanson and Clark conditions race at Newbury as a two-year-old judging by his last display at Ascot.

Soaring Glory (centre) disappointed at Newbury recently
Soaring Glory (centre) disappointed at Newbury recently (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Soaring Glory disappointed last time at Newbury but he looked very good previously at Ascot and you don’t win a Betfair Hurdle if you are not a good horse.

“We are looking forward to it but if he doesn’t turn up for whatever reason and gets beat, we will have to take it on the chin.”

Goshen and Glory And Fortune are the other two possibles ahead of Thursday’s final declaration stage.

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