Thursday December 15

Our young hurdlers are doing us proud and Keep In Line, who was brought back down to earth when going for the hat-trick at Cheltenham last month, attempts to get back on track in tomorrow’s Grade 2 Kennel Gate Hurdle at Ascot, a race we have won in the past with the likes of Yanworth and Medermit.

Alan said:”We think that Keep In Line is one of our better novices. He was a good Flat horse and has taken to hurdling well, but we just need to find out whether he is a two-miler or whether we should be looking to step him up in trip.

“However, I’m keen to give him one more run over two before deciding which route to take. He did look at Cheltenham that a longer distance might suit him, but he was hampered turning into the straight in what was a messy race, and I think but for that he would have probably have finished second instead of fourth. I’m not sure heavy ground would suit him but he’ll be fine on soft which is probably what he will get.

“We are stepping Criq Rock up in trip for the maiden hurdle and he was always going to stay well, though he can be keen and I wanted to get him to settle which is why we have been running him over two miles. He’s been running well, too, but he is now learning to relax so the logical step is to go up in trip and I think it will benefit him.

“Our other Ascot runner is Chato in the bumper. He won on his debut at Uttoxeter in the summer and then went to Worcester, where he was beaten by a subsequent winner whom he was trying to give 16lb. He has had a break but is ready to return now.”