O’Brien full of hope for Final Nudge in veterans’ final

Fergal O’Brien has high hopes Final Nudge can edge him towards a century of winners for the season in the valuable Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown.

O’Brien begins the day with 95 to his name, second only to current champion Paul Nicholls in winners and and fourth in the prize- money based championship overall.

With £100,000 up for grabs in a race which has attracted a field of 13, Final Nudge is one of three 13-year-olds running.

But his win in a qualifier for the final last time out at Warwick took his handicap mark back up to 137, having been third in the 2017 Welsh National (run in January 2018) off a career-high 145.

“We were delighted with him at Warwick. He ran a cracker for us in the Midlands National last season to be third and Paddy (Brennan) immediately said on pulling up ‘send him to Sandown for the veterans’ final’,” said O’Brien.

“We got him qualified at Warwick and while we were hopeful of a good run we weren’t expecting a whole pile, but he did the job very well.

“He’s a lovely horse, he’s very straightforward to train and we’re really looking forward to it.

“Jan Rees is a great owner to train for since she joined us and very lucky – hopefully that will continue on Saturday.”

A relative youngster at the age of 11 is David Pipe’s Gwencily Berbas.

Third in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle for Alan Fleming in 2015, he joined Pipe in May and was placed three times before springing a 25-1 surprise last time out at Exeter.

“I think he was too big a price when he won at Exeter,” said Pipe.

“He had run well at Sandown in a veterans’ qualifier prior to that (when third) on ground that was too quick for him.

“He will take his chance. He might not be as classy as some of them in the race, but he is in good form and it is a good race to take your chance in.

“I think the veterans’ races are the only thing in racing that everyone likes!”

Sir Ivan (orange sleeves) finished third to Seeyouatmidnight last year
Sir Ivan (orange sleeves) finished third to Seeyouatmidnight last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Harry Fry runs Sir Ivan, six lengths behind Final Nudge at Warwick when last seen.

Third in the final 12 months ago, he races off 5lb higher this time.

“He was third in the race last year and is probably too consistent for his own good – the handicapper doesn’t ever seem to move him much,” said Fry.

“He retains plenty of enthusiasm and we’re hoping for another good run from him.

“Hopefully he can be competitive.”

Venetia Williams’ Aso is top-weight and favourite, while Kim Bailey’s Wandrin Star is another who runs off the back of a win.

Other Recent Posts by This Author:

Your first 30 days for just £1
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.