Elgin sure to draw big crowd in bid to stake festival claim
Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle | Grade 2 l 1m7½f l ITV4/RUK
Elgin is out to give Alan King his first success in this prestigious event which in its early days was won by greats such as subsequent dual Champion Hurdle hero Sea Pigeon.
The topweight is out to advertise Cheltenham Festival credentials of his own against just six rivals and is a 20-1 chance for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March.
There may not be many runners but there are sure to be plenty of owners in the paddock as Elgin carries the colours of the popular Elite Racing Club, whose members will be turning out in droves to see their star try to stretch his unbeaten record over hurdles to three after his defeat of the reopposing Mohaayed at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The main candidate to play party-pooper looks to be the undefeated ex-Irish point-to-pointer Neon Wolf, who landed the odds on his hurdling debut at Exeter on New Year's Day and is held in some regard by trainer Harry Fry. It would be no surprise if Neon Wolf called the tune as he is named after an Irish Indie band.
Five-year-olds have dominated this in recent years and that age group is represented here by Elgin, Crievehill and Mohaayed.
What they say
Alan King, trainer of Elgin
He won very well at Kempton on Boxing Day and he settled much better than he had done at Newcastle. I don’t know how good he is, but he's progressive and stepping up in class will help tell us whether the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham is a realistic aim.
Mark Walford, trainer of Craggaknock
He's been improving with each run and prefers to go left-handed, so this will be fine for him. He acts on good ground but is better on soft such as this as he's a strong stayer. If it turns into a test of stamina he'll be thereabouts.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Crievehill
He won off 122 last time so is entitled to have a crack at something like this. Elgin looks a good horse and will be tough to beat but it's nice prize-money so we're giving it a go.
Malcolm Jefferson, trainer of Master of Finance
He's a nice horse and he was a good Flat horse. He needed his race the other day at Newbury. He came back with an overreach from Ayr and he got held up. He'll definitely come on for that run but whether he's good enough I don't know.
Harry Skelton, rider of Mohaayed
We chased home Elgin on his jumping debut at Kempton on Boxing Day and get a bit of weight off him this time. He's improved at home since Kempton and we're expecting another good run.