Tag Archive for: Shinji

No Cheltenham, but Keighley excited at what the future holds for Shinji

Shinji, who showed plenty of promise when finishing third in a Newbury bumper on Saturday, will bypass the championship event at Cheltenham.

The Kingston Hill gelding, owned by Louise Jones, gave Flat trainer Roget Varian his first success in the National Hunt code with an eyecatching nine-length success at Fakenham in November.

He subsequently joined Martin Keighley and under Sam Twiston-Davies was only beaten two and a half lengths by Aslukgoes at Newbury.

“I was thrilled with Shinji,” said Keighley.

“Sam said he must have some engine to pull as hard as he did. He said he basically ran away with him until he eventually settled in front.

“If he’d have settled from the start, he would probably have won. He is a most exciting horse.”

However, his Condicote-based handler is not keen to run him at the Cheltenham Festival, as he lacks experience.

“He had one run for Roger Varian and he won impressively that day, but he didn’t really beat much. Aidan Coleman still said he did it well, though.

“I think it is too much to ask for a four-year-old to run in a Champion Bumper. He would go to Aintree, I’d say.

“He will make an exciting hurdler for next season. We have schooled him and he jumps well, so we’re looking forward to him.

“He will get further. He is a real strong stayer – he must be to pull as hard as he did (at Newbury) and still hit the line so well.”

Keighley has his string in great heart, and Prairie Diamond was the yard’s fifth winner in the last fortnight when scoring on his debut in the bumper at Hereford on Wednesday.

“They are in really good form at the moment. I’m really pleased with Prairie Diamond,” added the handler.

“He is a big baby, but he came in late. I still own three-quarters of him, so I will have to sell the rest of him now.”

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