All the hot views as Western Ryder bids to make it three in a row for Greatrex
Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle | Listed | 2m 3½f | 4yo+ | RUK
When it comes to the Sidney Banks, you can rely on the weather and you can rely on Warren Greatrex.
This significant trial of British novices has beaten the elements every year since 2004 and the master of Uplands stable in Lambourn has beaten all-comers in the last two.
Greatrex bids to complete the hat-trick with Richard Johnson's mount Western Ryder, who bids to bounce back after finishing only fourth when favourite for the 2m Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.
"He was obviously disappointing as we went there full of hope, but Richard put it down to the ground," the trainer said on Wednesday. "It was very bad that day and he said he couldn't act in it at all.
"He's in good form and it will be interesting to step him up in trip, Richard felt he'd possibly appreciate that.
"It's a competitive little race but he's top rated and fingers crossed he can get back to winning ways."
Western Ryder is entered for the Supreme and Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdles, and Greatrex said: "You'd like him to be going very close if he's to be a threat at Cheltenham. I still think he's a nice horse and we'll learn more now."
Vinndication, unbeaten in a bumper and two hurdle races, is in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett at the festival, and trainer Kim Bailey said: "This will tell us whether he's a Cheltenham horse, Aintree is the most likely place for him, but this will tell us a lot more."
"I'm looking forward to it, it will be a good test for him. I think he's won his two hurdle races in impressive fashion and we've dropped him slightly in trip to make him race, rather than just hack round. He needs to learn as he's very immature and backward."
Theclockisticking, who had Mr One More back in sixth when third at Ascot in December, tries 2m3f for the first time, and trainer Stuart Edmunds said: "I think he'll improve for a step up in trip. His pedigree suggests he'll definitely improve for it.
"He seems in great form and I'm very happy with him. I've avoided the very deep ground over the last six weeks and I hope it won't be too bad at Huntingdon."
Dell Oro is also trying a new distance, and trainer Gary Moore said: "I've been dying to step him up in trip. He made his debut only ten months ago and he's done well in a short space of time. I still think we can win a nice race with him."
Equus Secretus has been racing over 3m, and trainer Ben Pauling said: "The trip may be a bit sharp for him but it was either running him with 12st 2lb under a double penalty in a normal novice or going for a decent race like this. I wouldn’t discount him."
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