Greatrex: Cole Harden in tip-top form and as good as when he won it
Trainer Warren Greatrex says he has Cole Harden back at the same as when he won the staying crown in 2015.
The eight-year-old has failed to add to his score since that festival triumph but a second place behind Unowhatimeanharry, in receipt of 8lb, was a sign of a return to form for the horse who was fourth in the race a year ago.
The front-runner was picked off by Unowhatimeanharry in the closing stages on that occasion but, on ground quicker than both encountered at Cheltenham in January, the trainer hopes he can close the gap, if not turn the tables.
Greatrex said: “He’s going to get the ground he wants. He’s never run a bad race here really. Last year was a bit disappointing but he seems to be back in tip-top form – as good as he was when he won it.”
Cole Harden has undergone wind surgery previously but has not needed further treatment this season after returning to training having undergone a knee operation.
“That operation must have helped him as he was probably in a lot of pain for quite a while,” Greatrex added. “We’ve had a free run this season and he’s just started to hit a bit of form.
“He comes to himself in the spring and looks a picture. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t put up a bold show.
“I think Thistlecrack was in a different league last season, although we definitely underperformed. Last year Bobs Worth beat him into third and he should have been better than him over hurdles.
“Unowhatimeanharry is good but I still wonder whether he’ll be as dominant on good ground.”
Pros Often comes good this time of year and ground in favour
Cons 8lb worse off with Unowhatimeanharry