Can Skelton and Henderson find the key to their promising hurdlers? | Horse racing news

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Dan Skelton: fits Kayf Hernando with a tongue

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Monday: 2:20 am Southwell
Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Handicap Hurdle | 3m½f | 4 years + | Sky

There is no shortage of renowned trainers sending some fancy runners into this race and it’s Dan Skelton and Nicky Henderson who stand out. Both saddles ran lightly over hurdles, with Skelton leading novice Kayf Hernando and Henderson Lecale’s Article.

Kayf Hernando beat former class hunter Mister Whitaker on his hurdles debut at Carlisle and that form was released when the runner-up won next time around. However, Kayf Hernando fell back, having been beaten a total of 64 lengths on two subsequent outings.

It’s not hard to forgive his poor run behind the sleek Blazing Khal in what was likely a hot race at the Cheltenham November reunion, but he has a bit to prove after a heavy loss in a weaker race at Southwell last time. This race, however, exceeded 2m4½f.

Kayf Hernando’s luck hinges on his upgrading for the half-mile trip and the addition of a tongue strap. Skelton runners have a healthy 22% strike rate when they wear this aid for the first time since the start of 2019, so maybe that will work the oracle.

Lecale’s article has a similar profile. He was disappointing on shorter runs after a promising start to his career and is now trying 3m½f in headgear for the first time.

Henderson made the unusual decision to install blinders for the first time. The coach doesn’t wear a lot of this type of headgear and is only 1-9 (11%) with runners assisting for the first time since the start of 2019. This suggests the addition could not be entirely positive.
Race Analysis by Graeme Rodway

What they say

Olly Murphy, Finawn Bawn trainer
He disappointed the first time over jumps on his first run in a long time at Ayr, so we’re hurdling him back in the cheeks in an attempt to sharpen him. On his old form he would have a chance, but he has to step up.

Oliver Sherwood, Jersey Wonder coach
He disappointed at Kempton last time around, but he came back with a little problem and this race maybe came a little after his first run back. We took it out of a few recent engagements after the ground got soft and hopefully it should be seen with a good spin on good to soft ground, good in places this time around.

Sean Curran, Domaine de L’Isle trainer
He had a great race when he was fourth on the barriers at the Grand National last time around and we are going to come back to the hurdles to mix things up a bit.

Fergal O’Brien, Aviewtosea trainer
He’s a nice guy and he ran well for a long while in Ludlow last time around. It should be adapted when going up on a trip and is a good long term hunting prospect.

Martin Keighley, Brorson coach
He won well at Catterick last time around after two strong runs at Cheltenham and should be accommodated by this longer trip. It’s a hot little race for Southwell but he’s a progressive guy going in the right direction.
Report by David Milnes

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