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Emitom has ‘mojo back’ for Rendlesham defence

Warren Greatrex is confident Emitom has got his “mojo” back in time to defend his title as he returns to the smaller obstacles in the William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock.

The seven-year-old was fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle to Lisnagar Oscar in March, following his victory in this race a month earlier, and Greatrex had hoped he would take high rank among the novice chasers this season.

However, defeats at Uttoxeter and Ffos Las forced a rethink. With Emitom having had a wind operation as well, the Upper Lamourn trainer is happy to retain his novice status for another season – should he fail to win the Stayers’ Hurdle.

“We are reverting back to hurdles (on Saturday) following a spell chasing. He has had his wind done and he is working very well,” said Greatrex.

“He seems to have his mojo back and seems in great nick. The chase races were good, and he jumped well, but he was a bit lacklustre – and whether his wind was just affecting him, I’m not sure.

“We will go to Haydock this week and see what happens. But he seems in good form, and his work is as good as ever.

“If he was to go on and win a Stayers’ Hurdle then we probably wouldn’t go back over fences, but if he didn’t win that we probably would look at going back over fences with him.”

Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar, Olly Murphy’s Itchy Feet and Thomas Darby and Nicky Henderson’s On The Blind Side are all in the reckoning at Haydock – to ensure it will be far from an easy task for Emitom.

Teillee and Mesnil feature among 15 seeking National Trial gold

Ramses De Teillee tops the weights as Lord Du Mesnil remains on course to try to go one better than last year in Haydock’s William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase.

Richard Hobson’s Randox Grand National entry, just outdone by shock winner Smooth Stepper here 12 months ago, is among 15 confirmations for Saturday’s Grade Three handicap over an extended three and a half miles.

Lord Du Mesnil, last seen when only ninth in the rescheduled Welsh Grand National at Chepstow six weeks ago, is joined among the Haydock possibles by several old rivals.

Nicky Martin’s The Two Amigos was in front of him as runner-up at Chepstow, but could manage only a distant fourth in this race last year.

David Pipe’s Ramses De Teillee, winner of the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle on this card 12 months ago, was a long way behind both Lord Du Mesnil and The Two Amigos at Chepstow.

Also still in the reckoning this time are the lightly-raced Sojourn, runner-up here in December for Anthony Honeyball, Fergal O’Brien’s veteran Perfect Candidate, Alan King’s Warwick Classic Handicap Chase hero Notachance and ex-French Ascot winner Enqarde, for Dr Richard Newland.

Enqarde also has the option of heading back to Ascot for another three-mile handicap on Saturday, but his trainer is favouring both the left-handed track and move up in distance.

“It will probably be Haydock,” said Newland.

“He did jump slightly left (at Ascot), and I just think also the extra trip will probably suit him.

“Obviously, three miles (and) four furlongs on very heavy ground at Haydock is going to be hard work for any horse.

“But yes, he’s in good form, so I can’t see why we wouldn’t have a go at it.”

There are 13 in the mix for the Prestige, with Jeremy Scott’s dual Wincanton winner Sizable Sam and Young Buck, for Paul Nicholls, catching the eye.

Jennie Candlish’s Mint Condition, a narrow runner-up at Warwick last time, also has an alternative entry in the other Grade Two on the card – the William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle.

In potential opposition there, among 13 entries, are last year’s winner Emitom – for Warren Greatrex – shock 2020 Stayers Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar, for Rebecca Curtis, and Pipe’s course-and-distance winner Main Fact.