Horse Racing: Op’ puts the wind back in World hope’s sails

Cole Harden and Gavin Sheehan.
Cole Harden and Gavin Sheehan.
Have your say

SUCCESSFUL Yorkshire rai-der Warren Greatrex is looking forward to running Cole Harden in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham after reporting his smart stayer to be back on form following a wind operation.

The Upper Lambourn trainer had been thinking of taking that measure for a while, but Cole Harden had kept posting good performances, winning the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby and being placed behind Medinas at Newbury and Rock On Ruby at Cheltenham.

However, he decided the time was right after Cole Harden’s effort in the Cleeve Hurdle when he was fourth to Saphir Du Rheu. Greatrex has been notably successful on his forays to the White Rose county this season, with Cole Harden’s West Yorkshire Hurdle one of his most successful raids.

The likelihood is the six-year-old is now capable of even better with Greatrex revealing: “He’s had a wind op’. I half-looked at it at the beginning of the season and he went and won at Wetherby. He was very impressive there and on good ground it wasn’t an issue, but on softer ground it’s been more of an issue.

“After his last run I felt he had better get it done, so we had a cauterisation done. He coped with it all very well and he’s back and seems in great form. He’s back cantering and he looks a picture.

“He’s been with the big boys and hasn’t disappointed really.

“I think on better ground and having his wind done, he goes there with a live chance. He never runs a bad race.

“We might take him away for a couple of racecourse gallops before, and he goes there fresh after a bit of a break.”

Cole Harden is as big as 40-1 for World Hurdle joy, with More Of That, the mount of man of the moment Tony McCoy, the 4-1 favourite.

Greatrex is also looking to give his Crabbie’s Grand National hope Dolatulo a prep run in a Pertemps Hurdle qualifier.

While all roads lead to Aintree for the world’s greatest steeplechase on April 11, Dolatulo will first have a spin over the smaller obstacles at either Haydock on Saturday or Chepstow the following weekend.

Dolatulo finished eighth behind Poole Master in the Grand Sefton over the famous Aintree fences in early December before winning the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day.

“There’s a Pertemps qualifier on Saturday at Haydock and one the following week at Chepstow. He’ll go for one of them”, said Greatrex. “It could be a distinct possibility he might go to Haydock on Saturday.

“He’s in very good form and obviously the National is his main target. He’s a better horse if you keep mixing it by switching and changing things.

“He stays well, he’s off a good mark and has a chance to get in the National and be competitive.

“Whatever he does between now and then is a bonus, but the main thing is we get him bang on in April.”