Alan King puts 'progressive' Elgin on trial at Haydock

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Elgin puts his Cheltenham prospects on the line when he takes in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday.

The five year-old is currently around a 20-1 shot for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Festival after winning both his starts over jumps so far.

However, Alan King's charge is burdened with a 7lb penalty under the race conditions courtesy of his success at Kempton on Boxing Day when he defeated the Dan Skelton-trained Mohaayed, who takes him on again.

"He's a progressive young horse. He did well at Kempton on Boxing Day and Haydock would probably tell us more again," said the Barbury Castle trainer.

"He's certainly going the right way. He's pretty highly regarded.

"Stepping up in class will help tell us whether the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham is a realistic aim."

Craggaknock has made a bright start to his hurdling career with two wins at Wetherby and his trainer Mark Walford is hoping the six-year-old can keep up the good work.

"We have been happy with Craggaknock and it looks like the going will be in his favour at Haydock as he likes soft ground," said the North Yorkshire handler.

"We are dipping our toe into this sort of grade and hopefully we will find out where we are with him. He has improved with each run and his hurdling is getting better.

"It looked a decent race at Wetherby last time, although obviously Dan Skelton's horse (runner-up Azzuri) didn't run to his rating of 139.

"Craggaknock is never a horse who is going to go on and win by 10 lengths. He only does what is asked of him really and I thought it was a good performance.

"We have put the cheekpieces on to help him focus on his hurdles. He is completely genuine and didn't wear them on the Flat but when we first started jumping him he wandered around a little bit.

"Haydock is sharper than Wetherby but I don't expect that to be a problem.I would imagine it will be a stamina test on the ground and he should have a good each-way chance."

Neon Wolf defends an unbeaten record after adding an Exeter novice hurdle success to his wins in a point-to-point and bumper.

The six-year-old was sent off 2-5 favourite for his hurdling bow and he easily disposed of 16 rivals.

Trainer Harry Fry said:"It's a step up in grade from last time and it should really tell us where we are going the rest of the season with him.

"He's in good form and he's impressed us so far.Hopefully, he can continue in the same direction and we can keep going."

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