Barizan at Punchestown: trainer Evan Williams wants to rekindle past formPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Out-of-sorts Barizan to be given a break
LAST season's JCB Triumph Hurdle second Barizan is likely to be given a break from the race track as trainer Evan Williams attempts to rekindle the blistering form that culminated in him winning the Grade 1 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown last spring.
The five-year-old was expected to go for the Williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle on December 26, but the rescheduled fixture is unlikely to involve Barizan, who finished sixth behind Oscar Whisky at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day on his last outing.
He said: “I very much doubt if Barizan will run in the Christmas Hurdle and we’ll probably wait to spring with him.”
Barizan has struggled to recapture the strong form of last spring, when he came within a whisker of landing a surprise win at the Cheltenham Festival with someeye-catching front-running tactics.
Four races this season, including an unplaced showing in the Grade 2 Totescoop6 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in November, have yielded just two thirds for connections.
“He’s just not the same horse this year,” said Williams. “I would imagine his form can be explained because he had a busy spring, especially running in three Grade 1s, and has been plenty busy enough this year too.
“It takes a bit out of them and it’s a lot like prolific two year olds on the Flat who struggle when other horses catch up with them physically.”