Tag Archive for: bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle

Nemean Lion roars to Premier victory for Kerry Lee

Sandown third Nemean Lion gave the Tolworth Hurdle form a boost as he got the better of the fourth on that occasion, Colonel Harry, to pick up the bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso.

The Kerry Lee-trained six-year-old was the best part of three lengths ahead of Colonel Harry when they clashed on deep ground in January and Richard Patrick was content to bide his time in mid-division aboard the 4-1 winner as Jamie Snowden’s 7-2 favourite attempted to make all.

Gavin Sheehan upped the tempo after three out as the pack began to swarm and he did a good job of putting the field under pressure and beating off most of the opposition as he swung into the straight still in command of the contest.

However, old adversary Nemean Lion was still travelling and having jumped the last matching strides, a slight error from Colonel Harry allowed the Will Roseff-owned gelding to strike the front and it was he who roared loudest at the finish to come home the best part of two lengths clear.

Lee said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the horse. It took us seven hours to get here, but it was absolutely worth it.

“He came here with a good performance under his belt and we were hopeful. It was a good, solid performance from him.

“Colonel Harry was one of the big dangers, I know they were sweet on their horse, and it was interesting that the Grade One horses did come to the fore.

“We’ve clearly got a very nice horse on our hands. I think he appreciated the track. I don’t think the distance was an issue, I just think he didn’t relish the hill at Sandown and Kelso is a little bit kinder in that respect.”

The winner holds an entry for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Betfair going 25-1 from 50s for the Prestbury Park opener, but Lee admits that looks unlikely at present.

She added: “I would say on two levels that Cheltenham is not very likely. First of all the ground, he’s quite a fragile horse and we have to be very careful – we came to Kelso for that reason, for the ground.

“I don’t think the ground at Cheltenham will suit and it would be very quick on him.

“I won’t be pushing for Cheltenham but that said, if it came up soft and he was bouncing, then we might consider it.

“We will be looking to Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown, keeping our options open.”

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