Kayley Woollacott is looking forward to putting Lalor over fences for the first time in public in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.
The Grade One-winning novice hurdler has been pleasing his trainer in his preparation.
“James Best schooled Lalor on Wednesday and he jumped really well. He’s looking very professional over his fences which is good to see,” Woollacott said on her Betway blog.
“He worked well on Tuesday. He’s been ready to run for a while, but he looks happy and relaxed.
“We obviously would have liked to have seen a bit of rain at Cheltenham, but they’re very good at ensuring safe ground there so it’s all systems go.
“It looks a very good race, there are several Grade One winners in there and horses with experience over fences.
“As long as he comes back safe and sound having had a nice educational experience, that’s all we’re looking for. We’ve got a long-term plan working back from the spring.”
Defi Du Seuil, the top juvenile hurdler two seasons ago, makes his fencing debut in a fascinating contest.
“He has been absolutely fantastic. He has schooled three times and has been electric,” said trainer Philip Hobbs’ wife, Sarah.
“A lot of the juveniles don’t come back the year after and this horse had seven wins on the trot. He had a very hard season and we were not in the top form we should have been and things were not right at home, but we’ve rectified that.
“The horses are well now and we hope it keeps going.
“He ran twice last season and had quite a hard race in Ireland. JP (McManus, owner) had him at Martinstown and he came back a different horse.”
Nicky Henderson was pleased with the way Claimantakinforgan took to fences when winning on his debut and is keen to see how he gets on in this tougher race.
“He got the job done nicely at Uttoxeter on his chase debut and I think he will have come on for the run,” the Seven Barrows trainer said on his Unibet blog.
“I believe he’s an out-and-out two-miler and he should bounce off the ground, but taking on the likes of Defi Du Seuil is a completely different ball game.
“He’s in great form, however, and it will be interesting to see how he fares upped in grade.”
Jockey Harry Skelton, fresh from riding a five-timer at Uttoxeter on Saturday, is hoping One For Billy can make amends for ducking out at the tapes on the run-in when holding every chance at Cheltenham last month.
“He has surprised us. We always thought he was a nice horse at home but he has just taken a while to strengthen up and become the horse we thought he was,” he said.
“He’s progressing and he’ll hold a good chance, it was just unfortunate what happened last time, it was no fault of the horse’s or mine. Hopefully it will never happen again, I just think the tape was lower than the rail.”
Itchy Feet up to scratch:
Olly Murphy is hoping Itchy Feet can continue to show improvement in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. The four-year-old has won both his starts over obstacles at Southwell and Kempton last month.
“Itchy Feet came out of Kempton in good form. He led, but that wasn’t the plan. He had the least experience in the field, but he won well,” said Murphy.
“It was a good performance and he is progressing with each run.”
Tom George is happy to give Seddon his chance after the five-year-old got off the mark at Stratford on his first try over jumps.
“He made a good start to his hurdling career at Stratford. It looks like a nice race for him. We’re stepping him up in grade a bit now. He’s ready and we’ll see how he goes.”
Kim Bailey sees Two For Gold as a horse for the future and is keen to get him started over hurdles.
“He has schooled well and is a nice horse. He is not a hurdler, though, as he is a big horse,” said Bailey.
“We were going to go to Ffos Las last weekend, but we changed our mind. He has been waiting to go for a while and Ffos Las was number one on the list, but when the rain came it turned the ground horrible.
“If he is not good enough, he is not good enough, but we will find out on Sunday. He will not be knocked about whatever on Sunday as he has long-term future.”