Portrush Ted has option of Gowran trip for Galmoy Hurdle

Warren Greatrex is considering a trip to Ireland with Portrush Ted, for a tilt at the Galmoy Hurdle.

The Grade Two prize at Gowran Park next month has emerged as a potential option for the talented eight-year-old, who is already a winner at the same level having claimed the Aintree bumper in 2018.

After falling on his final start last season, Portrush Ted – who holds an entry in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday week – took his record to three wins from four starts over hurdles with a triumphant return to action in a Pertemps qualifier at Sandown.

Greatrex said: “I feel the Long Walk at Ascot will come too soon for him as he put a lot of effort into Friday.

“The Galmoy at Gowran Park has been mentioned and that could be a possible option. Ground conditions are really important to this horse and he must have it really soft.

“The race would be a proper test and the track would suit him. The main thing with him though is keeping him in one piece.”

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Although Greatrex expected Portrush Ted to run well on his return, he believes it was his determined attitude that managed to secure the victory.

He added: “I thought he was a little bit short on Friday and that he would come on for it, as he hadn’t run since February. He will be better next time.

“His form suggested he would have a say, as when he gets round he wins. You have to compliment him on how tough he is.

“Through all the issues he has had, he still comes out and wants to win and credit goes to the team and the hard work they have put in.”

Emitom will revert back to hurdles following a recent wind operation
Emitom will revert back to hurdles following a recent wind operation (David Davies/PA)

The Lambourn handler is leaning towards giving Emitom the chance to defend his Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle crown at Haydock on his return from a recent wind operation, after deciding to put his chasing career on hold.

He said: “Emitom has had a wind op and he won’t be out until the end of January at the earliest.

“He was fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle last season and now we have sorted his wind he hasn’t got much to find to be in the mix in those Grade One staying hurdle races.

“He could go for the Cleeve at Cheltenham or the Rendlesham. I’d probably favour the Rendlesham as it is likely to be not quite as competitive and he has good course and distance form there.”

Emitom could return to chasing in the future, but much will depend on how he fares back over hurdles, according to Greatrex.

He said: “His jumping over fences was never an issue as he jumped brilliantly at Uttoxeter and although he was well beaten at Ffos Las he still jumped well.

“He has that bit of experience over fences now so he could go back chasing as a second-season novice.

“We will make a decision whether he goes back chasing or stays over hurdles depending on how he does back over hurdles.”

Keeper Hill is being lined up for a return to the Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton (David Davies/PA)
Keeper Hill is being lined up for a return to the Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton (David Davies/PA)

Keeper Hill could bid to get his career back on track by attempting to go one better than 12 months ago in the Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton.

The nine-year-old was last of five in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

Greatrex said: “I think the plan is to head back to the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton, though come January he will also qualify for veterans’ races as he turns 10.

“He hated the ground at Aintree, but he still picked up a bit more prize-money for his owners.”

Greatrex boosted by Portrush Ted at Sandown

Portrush Ted lifted the spirits of trainer Warren Greatrex with a triumphant return to action at Sandown on Friday.

In what has been a difficult few months for the Lambourn handler, the talented but fragile eight-year-old got his career back on track in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle, to give Greatrex his first winner in 46 days.

Not sighted since suffering a fall at Haydock in February, the Grade Two bumper winner demonstrated the best of his battling abilities to rally back past eventual runner-up Storm Arising, scoring by half a length.

Greatrex said: “I’ve had a torrid time this season. It’s been the hardest time I’ve had without success as a trainer.

“Everyone knows I’ve been quiet, but if I’ve got the horses and ammunition I’ve shown I can do the job time and time again and I think a horse like this demonstrates it.

“I’ve had a lot of people say that form is temporary and you will be fine. The one thing I have is a competitive mind and that has helped me through this.”

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While Portrush Ted holds an entry in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot later this month, Greatrex all but ruled out giving him a first start at Grade One level in the extended three-mile prize.

He said: “I would say that what he is has put in today, the Long Walk will be unlikely.

“He is already a Grade Two winner and in my eyes when he has his conditions he is every bit a Grade One horse.

“He does need soft ground so we will plot accordingly.”

Call Me Vic and Albi Tufnell on their way to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)
Call Me Vic and Albi Tufnell on their way to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Albi Tufnell celebrated his first winner under rules aboard the Fergal O’Brien-trained veteran Call Me Vic, who rolled back the years at the age of 13 to claim the Sandown Park Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase by six lengths.

The 18-year-old rider said of the 17-2 shot, who is owned by his mother, Jane, said: “It was almost unreal. I had a peak to my right thinking I really hoped my lad’s head was in front and crossing the line he was the only horse there.

“I always knew they would go that quick. I wasn’t sure he would be able to stay with them or have that much left in the tank, but when you are riding a horse like that around these fences on a course like this he makes me look good.”

The Dan Skelton-trained Alnadam went one better than on his debut over fences at Carlisle in the My Oddsboost On Betfair Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Assistant trainer Tom Messenger said: “We expected him to have come on from his last run and the form has worked out well.

“It was a competitive race, but he coped with the ground well and ended up putting it to bed nicely.”

Gary Moore saddled a one-two in the Londesborough Handicap Chase – but not in the order the betting suggested as Darebin (5-1) edged out Du Lemo (5-2), who was making his first start in 689, days by a neck.

Moore said: “I wouldn’t say I thought they would be first and second, but I thought Darebin was a fitter horse and with Jamie (Moore) back on him around here he improves 7lb.

“That’s probably what made the difference today – fitness.”