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Aintree regular Kruzhlinin revels in switch to hurdles

Kruzhlinin stretches out on his way to victory in the Betfair Fixed Brush Hurdle
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Chasers have a good record in the £80,000 Betfair Fixed Brush Hurdle and the trend was enhanced by gutsy winner Kruzhlinin, who has twice run in the Grand National.

The mini-fence-style hurdles are far removed from the famous birch obstacles 20 miles to the west and they suited the Philip Hobbs-trained stayer much better.  

"He's been round Aintree three times over the National fences and each time you think you'll go again but it's not really his job and he won't do it again," said the trainer.

"After the National last season we ran him at Chepstow and he jumped enormous and lost his confidence, but he ran well at Aintree [over hurdles] the other day and the blinkers have sharpened him up."

Results and analysis

Three Faces West, who like Kruzhlinin runs in the colours of Paul and Clare Rooney, bolted up in the 3m handicap chase to bring up a double on the card for Hobbs, while the victory was a third on the day for champion jockey Richard Johnson.  

Ch'Tibello scores for Skelton

Six days after the Skeltons won a £100,000 pot with a horse not originally earmarked for the race they repeated the trick when Ch'Tibello came out on top in a lucrative but muddy six-figure sprint.

At Cheltenham last Sunday, North Hill Harvey captured the Greatwood Hurdle having been scratched from a planned appearance at Wincanton the previous weekend.

This time it was the turn of Ch'Tibello, who was pulled out of the Greatwood due to unsuitably soft conditions but won the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle on even more gruelling ground.

Betfair Price Rush Hurdle result

The track surface may not have helped last season's Scottish Champion Hurdle winner but nor did it assist 10-11 favourite My Tent Or Yours, a disappointing third after fading inside the closing stages and losing the runner-up spot to rallying front-runner Melodic Rendezvous.

Ch'Tibello: Kingwell runner-up could take his chance in the Champion Hurdle
Fifth place in a Ascot handicap on his reappearance suggested Grade 1 aspirations for Ch'Tibello might have to be tempered, but they have bubbled back to the surface, with a trip to Kempton on Boxing Day set to come next for the winning five-year-old, who showed a fine turn of foot under Harry Skelton.

"I'm a little bit shocked because I didn't expect to win," said winning trainer Dan Skelton. "He'll go for the Christmas Hurdle. Why not? The Christmas Hurdle will be the acid test. Then perhaps we'll look at the Irish Champion Hurdle. Maybe it can happen again?"

Mysteree makes his mark

Michael Scudamore is hoping Mysteree can fill the shoes of former winner Monbeg Dude in next month's Welsh Grand National after the 4-1 favourite stuck on strongest in the 3m4½f handicap chase.

The Lynne Maclennan-owned eight-year-old showed his liking for marathon trips with a fourth in last season's Eider Chase when trained by Lucinda Russell and scored on his debut for his new stable.  

Mysteree wins the staying handicap chase and could go for the Welsh Grand National
"He's on 120, so a rise wouldn't go amiss, but you'd like to look at races like the Welsh National and a return to the Eider Chase," said Scudamore.

"He came to us in the summer as the owner has already got a few with us and thought he'd be suited by a switch to a smaller stable."

Regarding Monbeg Dude, who has been off with a tendon problem since finishing third in last year's Grand National, the trainer said: "He's coming back steadily and, although we'd planned for the Welsh National, he's not likely to be out until after the Christmas period."

Williams in the swing

Members at a golf club in Swansea will have raised a glass to Clyne after the improving six-year-old completed a hat-trick on his comeback in the 1m7½f handicap hurdle.

Winning owner David Williams has only four horses in training but was gaining a second success in a week following Pobbles Bay's victory at Uttoxeter.

"I walk my dog at Pobbles Bay and play golf at Clyne Golf Club, where I'm a former captain," he said.

"I picked out those two horses from a batch of three-year-olds and it looks like I chose wisely."

Clyne made a successful return from a nine-month absence to follow up victories at Warwick and Ffos Las. 

Thought for the day

The lust with which the impromptu 'Three cheers for Cue Card' were bellowed round the winner's enclosure showed just how popular the three-time Betfair Chase winner has become with the racing public.

He's been round to Aintree three times over the National fences but it's not really his job and he won't do it again

Key data

Philip Hobbs
E.W. Terms