Scott tempted by Stayers’ Hurdle for versatile Dashel Drasher

A tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle has crept into the equation for Dashel Drasher following his game effort in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Jeremy Scott’s versatile 10-year-old has mixed and matched fences and hurdles with real success of late, winning on his reappearance over timber at Aintree before finishing second to Grand National winner Noble Yeats on a first try at three miles in the Many Clouds Chase when returned to Merseyside the following month.

Keen to keep things fresh for the 11-time winner, the son of Passing Glance was returned to the smaller objects for his latest assignment, leading the field along for the majority of the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two and only succumbing to the superior turn of foot of the winner, Marie’s Rock, in the closing stages.

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However, what pleased Scott most about the performance was how his stable star bravely battled back for second once headed by First Street up the run-in and it is convincing the Higher Holworthy Farm handler that three miles is worth further exploration – something which could lead to an outing in the Paddy Power-sponsored Stayers’ Hurdle in March.

“I thought it was a great run, I couldn’t have been happier really without winning a race,” said Scott.

“He had a lot of decent horses in behind him and I think we’ve got half an idea that we will up him to three miles over hurdles and possibly look at running him in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

“He isn’t quite quick enough over the two and a half miles and he certainly didn’t have the turn of foot the winner had. But it was really pleasing how he fought back and beat the second horse having been headed and I think it shows an awful lot of guts, which is a very admirable feature in a racehorse.

“He got the trip OK up at Aintree and the more we run him this season the more he seems to see it out OK. His cruising speed would hopefully put one or two under pressure.”

Scott is still to decide how Dashel Drasher prepares for a possible run at the Festival, with a course-and-distance sighter in the Cleeve Hurdle (January 28) an option, but also a return to fences for the Betfair Ascot Chase (February 18) he won in 2021.

Dashel Drasher could return to his beloved Ascot to complete his Cheltenham Festival preparations
Dashel Drasher could return to his beloved Ascot to complete his Cheltenham Festival preparations (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He continued: “We could go back chasing and I’m not worried about going chasing, but that division could be stronger at the moment. We’ll see how he comes out of this race and our original plan was to have a run in the Cleeve and see how he got on over three miles.

“That might come a bit soon, but we also have the option of going back over fences at Ascot – give him a break now and run in the Graded race he’s won before. Then go to Cheltenham after that if it all worked out.

“We will very much see how he comes out of this race, he’s absolutely fine this morning and I think he has thoroughly enjoyed his experience at Cheltenham.”

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