Warren Greatrex may not yet be dining at the top-table of trainers alongside the likes of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson but, having won the 2015 World Hurdle with Cole Harden, and the 2016 Punchestown World Hurdle with One Track Mind, he’s already displayed an ability to hit big-targets when he has a horse with enough talent.
He had 53 winners last season, earning over £400,000 in prize-money, and already looks on course to potentially beat those totals having already saddled 27 winners. His strike-rate in NH Flat Race is particularly impressive at 35% this season, with 9 winners from 26 runners.
Here are some of the horses that might help Greatrex have a record-breaking season.
Was well-fancied for last season’s Eider Chase, and he had every chance when coming down five fences from home. Looks to have a big-handicap in him off 136, and this season’s Eider Chase looks an obvious target.
He was thought to have improved a lot over the close season, so much so that he was sent off favourite for his seasonal debut. However, he flopped there. Likely he will get the money back at some point this season, so keep an eye on him in novice hurdles or handicaps.
Had a wind-operation after the end of last season, after winning 2 of his 4 bumpers. Thought to want decent ground and around 2½-miles, he can be forgiven his seasonal debut on soft ground, and should pick-up a couple of races this season.
Another who was sent off favourite on his seasonal debut, when he started his chasing career by unseating his rider. Relishes soft-ground, and his trainer thinks he will be a much higher-rated chaser in time than he was a hurdler.
It remains to be seen whether the former World Hurdle winner can be as good a chaser as he was a hurdler, but there was no disgrace in defeat on his chasing debut. 3-miles and fast ground are his perfect conditions, and he may be one for the RSA chase later in the season.
Managed to win 2 hurdle races despite a recurring eye complaint, and connections are hopeful this mare will make-up into a useful chaser now her eye is getting better. Rated 132 over hurdles, and could take higher-rank over fences.
LA BAGUE AU ROI
Won 3 bumpers last season, and has already matched that feat over hurdles. Connections rate her very highly, and she could upset some of the big guns when stepped-up in class.
MA DU FOU
138-rated hurdler who has been sent off at short prices for two novice chases but has disappointed both times. He may well end-up well-handicapped shortly, especially considering he beat this season’s Greatwood Hurdle winner North Hill Harvey in a Listed Hurdle last season.
Went up 20lb for winning a handicap last year, which may have been a bit harsh, but connections are very hopeful he’ll prove a better chaser this season, and interesting to see if he is campaigned with handicaps in mind after finishing only fourth on his chasing debut.
ONE TRACK MIND
Won the Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown in April, and connections were very excited about starting him over fences. However, he’s jumped like a snooker table in two novice-chases so far, and connections may consider sending him back over hurdles.
Ran out when well-backed to win at the Punchestown Festival last season, and Greatrex can’t hide his enthusiasm for her. About to embark on a hurdles career, and 2-miles on soft ground are thought to be her ideal conditions.