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Kingwell then Champion for hurdle star Bajan

TRAINER Andrew Turnell has hinted his stable star Blue Bajan could head for the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton en-route to a crack at the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Blue Bajan - May 2008 - Martin Lynch

Blue Bajan: deserves his chance

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Although as bigas 40-1 for the Smurfit Kappa-sponsored festival day one feature, Turnell is pleased with the way the seven-year-old is progressing and believes he deserves to take his place at Cheltenham after finishing a creditable third in both the Fighting Fifth and the Christmas Hurdle.

"All being well he'll go for the Champion Hurdle and he may go for the Kingwell at Wincanton on the way," said the Swindon-based handler.

"The handicapper must think he's improving as he keeps putting him up. He's up to 160 now. He got beat at Kempton, but only just. If he keeps progressing a shade he'd be a lively outsider."

Turnell has another festival hopeful on the opening day in Micheal Flips, who boosted his claims for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by winning at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He, however, is likely to head to Cheltenham without another run.

"He's a nice horse and hopefully he'll go for the Supreme Novices," the trainer went on.

"He hurt his knee when he got beat at Kempton on his previous start and it knocked himback a bit.

"He's seems pleased with himself now and I think we'll take him straight there."

Micheal Flips is a top-priced 25-1 for the festival opener.

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