Saturday November 12

Forecast rain on Saturday – predictions of around 12mm at Cheltenham – had Alan walking his box last night, hoping and praying the weather won’t change ground conditions to soft for Sunday’s feature race at Cheltenham, the Greatwood Hurdle.

Alan plans to run Winter Escape, one of his most exciting prospects for the coming winter, and, though the ground on day one of the Open meeting would have been perfect the omens are not good for Sunday.

He said:”All Winter Escape’s three wins last season came on decent ground, so talk of rain has been a big negative. He did everything we asked of him last season, but I’m glad that we decided to put him away after the Dovecote at Kempton in February as he matured through the summer and came back from his holiday at JP McManus’s Martinstown Stud a much stronger horse.

“It is always one of the most competitive handicaps of the season, but Winter Escape has been pencilled in for this since the early autumn and we’d be very hopeful about his chance off 142 if only the wet stuff would stay away.

“We also run Keep In Line in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial. This ex-Godolphin gelding has earned this step up in class, having looked smart when winning his two races for us, first at Huntingdon and then at Bangor, but we should learn a bit more about him here.”