Sherlock looks the answer to Neptune mystery
The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle has been plundered regular over the years by the Irish, but Red Sherlock has all the right credentials to bag this year’s renewal for the home contingent.
Raiders from the Emerald Isle have won 16 runnings of the contest since 1971, including with subsequent Champion Hurdle winners Istabraq and Hardy Eustace.
However the tide has turned in recent years with three of the last four runnings being won by the home team, and Red Sherlock looks to hold outstanding claims of further enhancing that record.
The gelding won his first three bumpers in good style, and they included a listed contest over 2m 1f at Cheltenham.
He has since made a seamless transition to the obstacles, winning two minor events at Southwell and Wetherby before stepping up into Grade 2 company and scoring over 2m 5f at Cheltenham last time out.
The six-year-old travelled well throughout that contest and found plenty for Tom Scudamores’s surgings to see off the Willie Mullins’ trained Rathvinden by a cosy 1 1/2 lengths.
The pair pulled 29 lengths clear of the third home Aubusson and the form has a rock solid look to it.
There is also lots to like about his profile as far as the race trends for the Neptune are concerned.
He has won at graded level over hurdles, something which 14 of the last 16 winners had achieved, and is the perfect age as no horse over six has won the contest since 1974.
The son of Shirocco is also out of the late David Johnson’s prolific winning hurdler and chaser
ady Cricket, and 12 of the last 15 winners were National Hunt bred.
He also has course and distance winning form to his name, so there are absolutely no doubts whatsoever regarding the track or ability to get home up the famous Cheltenham hill.
Everything suggests that he has all the attributes required to land the Neptune, and with stronger form in the book than the favourite Faugheen he makes plenty of ante post appeal at the 6/1 on offer.