At Fishers Cross to continue winning streak in West Yorkshire Hurdle
One of the most progressive horses in training last year was At Fishers Cross, trained in Wales by Rebecca Curtis for leading owner JP McManus. Having started off in a novice hurdle at Ffos Las in November, the gelding went on to win at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festival meetings.
His handicap mark was just 122 when he won at Newbury on 1st December but he closed the season rated 157. His victories included a neck defeat of 2014 Champion Hurdle favourite The New One at Cheltenham and his sights are set on the World Hurdle this season.
All of his victories prior to Aintree had come on ground officially soft or heavy but he handled good to soft ground to record his easiest win of the season. Conditions should be similar at Wetherby and he looks set to extend his winning streak to seven.
His rivals include last year’s winner Tidal Bay who went on to finish second in the Hennessy Gold Cup before taking the Grade 1 Lexus Chase in Ireland. Injury prevented him from taking his place in the field for the World Hurdle and Grand National and he is almost certainly in his last season at the age of 12.
Long Run officially has 11lbs in hand of his rivals in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at 3.35 and should get his campaign off to a winning start. Although only eight, he has become a regular fixture in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, winning in 2011 and third in 2012 and 2013.
The ground may not be testing enough to bring out the best in Cape Tribulation whilst Unioniste appeared to have his limitations exposed when fourth in the RSA Chase. If there is to be a surprise, it could come from Benefficient with Tony McCoy an eye-catching booking.
He defeated Dynaste in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March and may have been feeling the effects of that race when pulled up at Punchestown. He has had a pipe-opener at Listowel so should strip fitter on Saturday.