Fergal O'Brien looking forward to Colin's Sister stepping back up in trip for Cleeve assignment

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Mon 22 Jan 2018

By staff

Fergal O'Brien is looking forward to Colin's Sister stepping back up in trip for the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

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O'Brien is set to be represented in the Grade Two contest by the seven-year-old mare, who was third behind Nigel Twiston-Davies' Wholestone and Nick Williams' Agrapart in the Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle over two and a half miles at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

Earlier in the season, she defeated Wholestone by two lengths when taking the three-mile Grade Two West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby on November 4.

Colin's Sister is a best-priced 12-1 with Ladbrokes for the three-mile event, behind 3-1 Finian's Oscar, who reverts to hurdles after meting with defeat in two starts over hurdles, and 9-2 Wholestone.

"Colin's Sister has been in really good form since her run at Cheltenham last time," O'Brien said.

"I was really pleased with her performance behind Wholestone and I thought coming down the hill, she had a great chance of winning, but it was still a great effort to finish third.

"Paddy was pleased with her and if the ground is on the soft side, that will help her chances as she enjoys those conditions.

"The step back up to three miles will also help her as that does seem to be her trip now. Looking back at her run last time, it probably highlighted that two and a half-miles is on the short side for her, so three miles will suit on Saturday.

"At the moment, depending on her run this week, I think we would be leaning towards running her in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at The Festival as three miles is her trip, but we'll see how she runs on Saturday first and what Paddy and the owners think."

Lil Rockerfeller has not been entered.

Neil King will give his stable star more time to recover from his slightly disappointing run in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month.

"He was not right after his last race. I don't know why," said King.

"We had all the tests and nothing came to light. He is fine now and he went out hunting last Thursday.

"Giving him a bit of a break won't do him any harm."

Long Distance Hurdle hero Beer Goggles is one of 11 possible runners in the Cleeve, while Nicky Henderson has entered Thomas Campbell and L'Ami Serge, who also holds entries over fences this weekend.

The Worlds End, Court Minstrel and Saint Are are also in the mix.

Ex Patriot, trained by Ellmarie Holden, is the sole entry from Ireland.

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