Sam Spinner set to return to hurdles following Wetherby disappointment

Sam Spinner is likely to revert to hurdling as connections try to restore the horse’s confidence after he was pulled up in the Charlie Hall Chase on his comeback from injury.

Jedd O’Keeffe’s stable star was pulled up before the seventh fence in the Wetherby feature won by Cyrname on his first race since he damaged his pelvis when taking his unbeaten record over fences to three at Doncaster last December.

Jockey Joe Colliver decided to err on the side of caution and take Sam Spinner out of Saturday’s feature in which he was sent off 6-1 third favourite.

“He’s fine. He ate up everything on Saturday night and he trotted sound and he’s OK,” said O’Keeffe.

“Joe was just worried about him. He said the horse didn’t feel his usual self and wasn’t attacking his obstacles. He was worried if he pushed him too hard, something was going to go wrong.

“I’m very glad he acted cautiously.

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“We think rather than it being a physical thing, we think it was probably more of a mental thing and his injury might have taken its toll in that respect.

“Assuming he’s OK in a couple of weeks, we’ll school him again and I think we’re going to have to switch back to hurdles for the time being and try to restore that confidence.”

O’Keeffe has no choice but to pitch Sam Spinner at a high level over the smaller obstacles and has named the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on November 27 as a probable target.

It would mean a possible clash with last year’s winner Paisley Park, who had Sam Spinner in second place when lifting the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2019.

“It’s going to be a difficult task because he can’t drop into any old race. It’s going to be a tough race he goes into – the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, probably,” said the Leyburn trainer.

“He could possibly come up against the likes of Paisley Park. We just have to restore his confidence and build on it and see where we are.”

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