Tag Archive for: Onemorefortheroad

Milkwood all set for Scottish Champion Hurdle defence

Neil Mulholland is hoping Milkwood can strike again at Ayr and retain his title in the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle.

The eight-year-old was a three-and-three-quarter-length winner of the Grade Two last term and has been seen only twice since, firstly when an excellent second in the Galway Hurdle in July and then when fourth on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter in October.

Injury setbacks have prevented the gelding from embarking on a busier campaign and Mulholland has deliberately saved him for a title defence in Scotland on Saturday, as he bids to join the likes of Sea Pigeon and Birds Nest as dual winners of the race.

“We kept him for the Scottish Champion where he won last year and Sam Twiston-Davies schooled him on Tuesday morning. We are happy with the way he schooled,” he said.

“We just had to give him a little bit of time, because we were not 100 per cent happy with him.

Milkwood in the County Handicap Hurdle
Milkwood in the County Handicap Hurdle (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He just hasn’t been right, he has had a few niggly problems and that is just the way he is.”

Now rated 150, Milkwood will carry 8lb more than he did 12 months ago.

“He has a lot of weight, but he has it for a reason,” Mulholland said.

“If he can go back there anywhere near his form of his last three hurdle runs, he will make his presence felt.

“He has had a racecourse gallop and we have him as fit as we can. He is at his racing weight – obviously you can’t beat a recent run, but he has had a recent racecourse gallop and he galloped really well.”

Onemorefortheroad won three times over hurdles for trainer Neil King before being being placed in graded company at Ascot.

Onemorefortheroad in action at Newbury
Onemorefortheroad in action at Newbury (Steven Paston/PA)

The seven-year-old finished fourth on his most recent run in the Imperial Cup at Sandown.

King feels there is a little more improvement left to come and Jack Quinlan’s mount is in receipt of a stone from Milkwood.

He said: “He remains in really good form I think he is the right side of the handicapper still.

“He has done absolutely nothing wrong this year – the ground was far too soft for him last time at Sandown and he still ran with great credit. The handicapper dropped him a pound as a consequence.

“Ayr will suit him. I have always felt a flat, sharp track like Ayr will suit him much better than a Sandown or an Ascot, and he is in great form.

“He had a break in midwinter because of the ground and is fresh and ready to go.

“His form is rock solid and and the faster the ground the better.”

In what bookmakers see as an open contest, West Cork is the most lightly-raced of the principals, having had just three runs this season for Dan Skelton.

The eight-year-old, who shoulders 8lb less than Milkwood, was fourth in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham on his first run since mid-December and Skelton says he has taken that well.

West Cork during a visit to Dan Skelton’s yard at Lodge Hill, Alcester
West Cork during a visit to Dan Skelton’s yard at Lodge Hill, Alcester (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“West Cork has not had a busy season, but he ran well at Cheltenham last time. As long as that has not come too soon, I would have to give him a right chance.

“I don’t feel like it has come too soon from what he has shown at home.”

The James Moffatt-trained Alqamar won four times between May and August last year, but has not been seen since unseating at Wetherby in October.

Last-time-out winners Socialist Agenda and Voix Du Reve, along with Anna Bunina and Kihavah make this a fascinating renewal, with Barrichello completing the line-up.

Donald McCain’s gelding has won four of five this season, the only blot on his copybook coming when fourth in a Bangor novice hurdle in December.

The Cheshire handler feels the six-year-old, who scored at Newcastle last time out, deserves his chance.

“He has had a good year and is going the right way,” said McCain.

“He deserves to run in a good race. I think he is fairly handicapped, I don’t know whether we have anything up our sleeve but we were going to run him on a big day in the spring and we decided to go to this one.

“He probably should be unbeaten but the only hiccup was at Bangor. That was nobody’s fault. He just got a fright at the start, he whipped round and the race was over.

“He has had a good year. All the Ayr races have cut up a bit. I don’t quite know why we have needed to have the meeting a week before Aintree.

“It was never really going to work, was it? It has been hard for me, as I wanted to send some of them to Aintree possibly, but how do you wait when races are cutting up?”

Onemorefortheroad refreshed for Imperial Cup bid

Neil King reports Onemorefortheroad to be in prime shape to kickstart a spring campaign in the Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday.

The seven-year-old has fully recovered from the minor setback that forced him to miss the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month and has been pleasing the Wiltshire handler in his work.

He has been absent since finishing second to Tritonic in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot in December, having won his first three starts in the autumn culminating in the Listed Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at Newbury.

“All is well again now. He did a lovely bit of work last Saturday morning. He’s had a nice winter break, and he’s fresh and ready to go through the spring,” said King.

“It’s attracted a large field this year. It is always a competitive handicap. We obviously hope he goes there with a squeak.”

Tom Symonds is hoping Hystery Bere can build on his last run when he was third to Cormier in a competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in January.

“It’s quite a big ask of him, but we’re looking forward to it and the form of his Cheltenham race has worked out really well with Cormier going on to win and the second, Severance, has run well too,” said Symonds.

“He’s only run five times for us so we’re still learning about him – we’re going there hopeful rather than confident. Fingers crossed for a good run.

“The ground should be OK for him, whether they get rain or not. He’s handled all sorts so let’s hope he can put his best foot forward.”

Evan Williams would not mind rain for his two runners, Current Mood and Howdyalikemenow.

Current Mood (right) makes her handicap debut in the Imperial Cup
Current Mood (right) makes her handicap debut in the Imperial Cup (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“Current Mood has done very little wrong this year. It’s her first time in a handicap, we thought we’d try her in this as opposed to the EBF Final, roll the dice and have a go,” said Williams.

“She won over two miles last time but she’s effective over a variety of trips. It’s a stiff track and I think there’s a drop of rain to come, which will make it more of a staying test.

“Howdyalikemenow ran very well last time on ground that was a bit too good for him in the Betfair Hurdle. We’re keen to have another go in a big handicap with him. Any drop of rain will be of benefit to him.”

Paul Nicholls is three-handed with Miranda, Hacker Des Places and Samarrive.

“Miranda was fifth in the race a year ago and after another fruitful season returns on the same handicap mark of 146, which is high enough considering she was beaten 15 lengths in a Grade Two mares’ hurdle at Doncaster last time,” the Ditcheat trainer told Betfair.

Miranda is one of three runners in the Imperial Cup for trainer Paul Nicholls
Miranda is one of three runners in the Imperial Cup for trainer Paul Nicholls (David Davies/PA)

“Miranda will run her usual honest race with the talented young amateur Ben Bromley claiming a handy 7lb.”

Nicholls is also claiming 5lb off Hacker Des Places with Angus Cheleda.

“He bounced back to form last time at Chepstow with a pleasing victory from the front. I did consider turning him out again a week later at Musselburgh but that race came a bit too soon for him and the Imperial Cup is a tempting alternative,” he said.

“Hacker Des Places will again be ridden by our good claimer Angus Cheleda who takes off a valuable 5lb.”

Nicholls feels Samarrive has a big chance if he can repeat the performance that saw him win over the course and distance earlier in the season.

“He won a Listed handicap at this track in style in December, staying on strongly to go clear after the final hurdle,” he said.

“He then ran flat a fortnight later in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot just before Christmas. I blame myself for running him too soon after Sandown and ever since I’ve had the Imperial Cup in mind for him.

“He is nice and fresh again now and looks to have solid claims in a competitive handicap.”

Suprise Package can book his place at Cheltenham next week with a prominent showing.

“If he happens to run a big race, he might stay over and head to Cheltenham for the County Hurdle. He’d have to get a few pounds to get into it but that is the plan if he runs a big race,” said County Kildare handler Peter Fahey.

“Sandown is a track you either really like or you don’t. He has a good, high cruising speed and he jumps away well. Hopefully, everything goes his way.”

Minor setback scuppers Betfair bid for Onemorefortheroad

Onemorefortheroad has sustained a minor setback that has ruled him out of Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Neil King’s seven-year-old was the most notable absentee as 16 horses were confirmed for the prestigious handicap hurdle. He was prominent in the ante-post betting at around 10-1.

“He’s just suffered a slight setback, so we’re not going to be ready in time. It’s just a minor problem. Hopefully he’ll be back out as soon as we can get him right,” said the Marlborough handler.

“It’s a minor one but annoying it’s come at this time, but that’s horses. There will be another day.”

Soaring Glory (centre) winning last year's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury
Soaring Glory (centre) winning last year’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The weights are headed by Soaring Glory, who could bid to become only the second horse to win back-to-back renewals. Jonjo O’Neill’s charge would emulate Rosyth, who took the first two runnings in 1963 and 1964, though the Nicky Henderson-trained Geos struck in 2000 and 2004.

Paul Nicholls is looking to Knappers Hill giving him a third victory in the race after Pic D’Orhy in 2020 and Zarkandar in 2012.

The six-year-old is a novice with just three runs over hurdles under his belt, the latest coming in the Grade Two Kennel Gate at Ascot where he was third to Jonbon.

“We confirmed him this morning, he’s in good shape and its been his aim for a little while,” said the Ditcheat handler.

“It’s quite common now that we aim some novices that we feel are quite well handicapped at this as they have a good record in the race.

“This looked the obvious race after Ascot because having won two novice hurdles, he’d have a double penalty, but this is a nice race for a nice horse to run in.

“He’s off a nice mark and in what is sure to be a fast-run race, it should suit him better than at Ascot, but that has turned out to be quite a nice race.”

Nicky Henderson, with five Betfairs to his credit, has two possibles in Broomfield Burg and First Street while Colin Tizzard has Jpr One, winner of two of his three starts, towards the head of the ante-post betting.

Onemorefortheroad all set for Newbury feature

Onemorefortheroad is heading to the Betfair Hurdle on February 12 on the back of a career-best effort, according to Neil King.

The seven-year-old, who has won five of nine starts over hurdles, has been in tremendous form this term, including when taking a valuable intermediate hurdle at Newbury on his penultimate run.

King is set to return to the Berkshire venue on Saturday week for the Grade Three Betfair Hurdle, for which he is currently as short as 8-1 with the sponsors and as big as 12-1 with Coral.

Though he was denied a four-timer when beaten two and three-quarter lengths by Tritonic in a Grade Three contest at Ascot in mid-December, King feels there is a bit more to come, despite having started the season on an official rating 12lb lower than his new mark of 138.

He said: “I’m sure you would call it a career-best at Ascot.

“He has been on an uphill curve all the way through this season. He is a very smart horse and shows us that at home. He is a smart work horse and he has taken that level of form to the track and is on the improve, still.

“The plan is to go to the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

“We gave him a break over Christmas to freshen him up ready for Newbury and thereafter I’m not sure. I don’t think you will necessarily see him at Cheltenham, I would like to think you will see him at Aintree.

“Aintree will probably suit him rather than a Cheltenham or, indeed, an Ascot.”

Newbury next for Onemorefortheroad

Onemorefortheroad is to be aimed at the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February following his fine effort at Ascot on Saturday.

Trainer Neil King feels the six-year-old showed he would be suited by that ultra-competitive handicap when second in the Betfair Exchange Trophy.

Onemorefortheroad had won his last three starts in the style of a progressive sort and lost little in defeat to Tritonic.

King said: “It was a great run. I was really pleased with him. There were no hard luck stories. He was beaten by a better horse on the day, trained by my great mate and neighbour (Alan King).

“He was grand this morning. We’d love to go to the Betfair Hurdle with him. I think that would be ideal for the horse.

“He did everything right. I was pleased how his jumping and everything held up at speed. He was all good this morning.”

Onemorefortheroad seeking biggest success yet

Onemorefortheroad takes the next rung up the ladder when he bids for a four-timer in the Betfair Exchange Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The six-year-old, trained by Neil King, has won five of his last six starts, including his last three as he progresses through the ranks.

Those latest successes, following a summer break, culminated in his most notable display to date at Newbury.

“He remains in great shape and he looks in great form with himself,” said King of Bryony Frost’s mount.

“It’s another stepping stone for him. The ground is drying out nicely for him and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Nicky Henderson is hoping No Ordinary Joe can step up on his creditable effort in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The five-year-old made most of the running when third to West Cork, beaten two and three-quarter lengths by the winner, who is again in opposition.

“He ran a nice race at Cheltenham and I would expect him to come on for that. If he has, and all goes according to plan, I would think he must have a very good chance. It is a very good prize,” said the Seven Barrows trainer.

Paul Nicholls reports Samarrive to be in fine form and ready to return to the fray following his convincing victory in the December Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.

Samarrive (left) is reported to be in good shape ahead the valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot
Samarrive (left) is reported to be in good shape ahead the valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot Steve Paston/PA)

“I am very happy with Samarrive. We have not done a lot with him since Sandown, but he’s in good shape and worked nicely on Wednesday morning,” said the Ditcheat handler.

“He could have obviously done without the 11lb he was given for winning at Sandown. I thought that was quite harsh, especially when you consider he runs here off the same mark as Dan Skelton’s horse (West Cork) who won the Greatwood Hurdle.

“He will need to improve a lot to win a race like this on the back of an 11lb rise but, as you can see, he is unexposed and going forward will make a lovely novice chaser in the autumn.”

Benson was fourth behind Samarrive at Sandown and occupied that position in this race 12 months ago.

Dr Richard Newland hopes a visor will work the oracle for Benson
Dr Richard Newland hopes a visor will work the oracle for Benson (David Davies/PA)

His trainer Dr Richard Newland was disappointed with his latest effort and is fitting the six-year-old with a visor in the hope of eking out some improvement.

“He is a nice horse and was fourth in the race last year. I was a little bit disappointed with him at Sandown because he didn’t travel,” said Newland.

“We are sticking the visor on him along with his usual tongue tie in the hope that this will help him.”