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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Groggy Woollacott has big plans for giant killer Beer Goggles

Richard Woollacott: "not so sprightly" after celebrating the success of Beer Goggles
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Beer Goggles emerged from Friday's shock defeat of Unowhatimeanharry and Thistlecrack in rather better shape than his trainer, who by his own admission was "not quite so sprightly" when pulling out for first lot.

Richard Woollacott was entitled to celebrate after the diminutive Beer Goggles had made all for a stunning 40-1 Grade 2 success at Newbury – the stable's biggest win yet – and although he did not go mad his effort certainly left its mark.

"We went out with all the staff for a few drinks when we got back, and I've got a good headache to prove it, but it was all good fun," revealed the former champion point-to-point rider, who trains on the family farm with ever improving facilities, halfway between Taunton and Exeter.

"Beer Goggles is stamping his feet and full of himself, bucking and kicking, but I'm not quite so sprightly."

Cheltenham's Cleeve Hurdle remains the plan after Beer Goggles has had a short break, and then the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle if all went well.

Beer Goggles heads for victory under a fine ride from Richard Johnson

"I don't think we've much choice," reasoned Woollacott. "Yesterday might have been his day, and Richard [Johnson] gave him a fantastic ride, but we hope that he's still improving and he's got to take his chance. If he went and won or ran well he'd go back to Cheltenham, but if he doesn't he can go to Aintree, where he has already run well."

Woollacott is ambitious and he is keen to attract new horses, and in particular better horses. He had already made two relatively expensive purchases at the recent Cheltenham sale and he is looking for more horses like his graded Aintree bumper winner Lalor, about whom he retains high hopes despite two recent defeats.

One might imagine Woollacott is looking at Lalor through 'beer goggles' when he describes him as "a lovely big horse who wouldn't look out of place with Nicky Henderson or Paul Nicholls" and goes on to talk of a tilt at the hottest handicap hurdle of the season with a horse who has yet get off the mark.

However, he insists: "He's a very different type to Beer Goggles – a beautiful horse who you would hope he would be around for years.

"We always had the Betfair Hurdle as his target but it hasn't gone quite to plan and we are now in a bit of a quandary as he's rated 133 without having won a hurdle yet. If we go and win a handicap he might go up 10lb and blow his chance, but if we win a maiden hurdle with him he might not go up at all and wouldn't get in the race off that mark.

"We're ambitious and we're thinking big, but I'm not sure which way we'll go with him next."

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We went out with all the staff for a few drinks when we got back, and I've got a good headache to prove it, but it was all good fun
E.W. Terms
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