Sam Spinner set for Long Walk at Ascot
Last Updated: 06/12/17 6:45pm
Jedd O'Keeffe is keen to test Sam Spinner against the best around in the JLT Reve De Sivola Long Walk Hurdle on December 23.
Winner of a valuable handicap at Haydock by a yawning 17 lengths, he is one of 13 entries for the Grade One contest.
"We are definitely aiming Sam Spinner at the Long Walk Hurdle. We really need to get a guide as to how far he has progressed and how far he is going to progress. This will help us to map out the rest of his season. Ascot is a definite target," said O'Keeffe.
"Going up 16lb has forced our hand a little and probably just pushed us out of handicaps for the moment.
"He has been spot on since Haydock and couldn't be better at the moment. I was really surprised how well he won.
"We knew he was decent, would improve for his first run of the season at Chepstow and that there was general improvement in him as he learns his craft better, but I didn't expect him to win as well as he did.
"I don't think he has to have ground as soft as it was Haydock and he has won on ground that has been nearly good in the past. He certainly handled heavy ground and whether it played to his strength more than the horses, we just don't know.
"With the race at Newbury (won by Beer Goggles), it looks an open division and shows even the top horses are beatable."
Unowhatimeanharry could aim to repeat last years's win, with Lil Rockerfeller another possible along with Thomas Campbell and L'Ami Serge.
There could also be a strong challenge from Ireland with Hatton's Grace one-two Apple's Jade and Nichols Canyon in the mix at this stage.
Elgin goes for valuable handicap
Elgin will chase a hat-trick in the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on December 23.
Worth £150,000, the race was run as the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle last season and had previously been known as The Ladbroke.
Trained by Alan King, Elgin already has a course and distance win to his name this season and defied a 5lb higher mark in the Greatwood at Cheltenham. He has been raised another 6lb since then.
"The Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle is the plan for Elgin," said King.
"He hasn't done much since Cheltenham and is just cantering away at the moment. He's up to 151 now and it's getting more difficult, but there you go. I think we have got to stay down the handicap route with him for the moment.
"We also have William H Bonney (fifth behind Elgin at Cheltenham) entered. He would only be a possible at this stage and could maybe go to Sandown this weekend."
There are eight entries from Ireland with Gordon Elliott, winner of the race with Cause Of Causes and Bayan, responsible for Mick Jazz and Veinard.
Willie Mullins could run Bapaume, Bleu Et Rouge, Cilaos Emery and Meri Devie. Completing the Irish-trained entries are Tigris River (Joseph O'Brien) and Top Othe Ra (Tom Mullins).
Nicky Henderson has entered Charli Parcs, Verdana Blue, Lough Derg Spirit and Jenkins.