Cheltenham countdown: Joe Colliver is key to Sam Spinner, says Jedd O'Keefe

Thu 1 Mar 2018

By staff

Jedd O'Keeffe has hailed Joe Colliver's influence on the rise to prominence of Sam Spinner ahead of the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

One of the great northern hopes at the forthcoming Festival, he is a general 5-1 chance for the Grade One.

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Sam Spinner was narrowly beaten from a mark of just 136 on his seasonal debut at Chepstow, but two starts later was a good winner of the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot having claimed a big prize at Haydock in between.

"I don't think the key to him is making the running. The key to him is going a decent, even pace and getting into a really nice rhythm," said O'Keeffe.

"Joe Colliver has found the magic for that, he seems to do that quite comfortably. He and the horse just gel together and have got an understanding and that works.

"We don't feel he's got to make the running, just do his own thing, which is quite nice rather than having a hold-up horse depending on others."

O'Keeffe believes his charge is versatile in terms of ground, although more testing conditions could be in his favour.

"I'd like to see the ground quite soft, not so much because he needs it like that, just because it might be more to our advantage than his main rivals," he told At The Races.

"I think he's very versatile ground-wise, I'd be quite happy with good to soft or even heavy - but it won't be that.

"He's grown up quite quick. When he went to Chepstow first time out, he got quite sweaty and I think that was because it was his first run.

"We took him to Newcastle last week to stop him getting fresh and I think now he'll be fine, he was cool as a cucumber at Ascot."

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