Turf Talk: Wholestone set for the long haul at Aintree

Wholestone and Daryl Jacob, right, in action at Cheltenham in January this year. PIC: Julian Herbert/PA Wire
Wholestone and Daryl Jacob, right, in action at Cheltenham in January this year. PIC: Julian Herbert/PA Wire
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WHOLESTONE is to be aimed at the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury following his weekend victory at Aintree.

Third to Penhill in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained seven-year-old delighted connections with his effort on Merseyside, where he obliged in a conditions hurdle.

Jockey Richard Johnson on board Native River (right) winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in March this year. PIC: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Jockey Richard Johnson on board Native River (right) winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in March this year. PIC: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Anthony Bromley, bloodstock adviser to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: “The plan now is to go for the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. The idea is to head to Newbury, then if he is good enough go for the Long Walk at Ascot near Christmas.

“A lot of the staying novice hurdlers from last year are going novice chasing, and it is the same old characters that remain in this division. There is no desire to go novice chasing with him, and we plan to keep going over hurdles.

“He has won a Relkeel Hurdle, so I thought the two-and-a-half (miles) at Aintree was a good starting point, against a lot of three-mile hurdlers. He will strip a lot fitter for that, and Nigel said he will improve for that run.”

n Connections of Native River are praying the ground is soft enough to enable the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to run in this month’s Betfair Chase at Haydock – with no obvious Plan B available.

Trainer Colin Tizzard wants to keep the eight-year-old busier this season, with his finest hour coming on just his second start last term.

But as owner Garth Broom explained, were he to miss Haydock on November 24, there is no obvious alternative before the King George at Kempton.

“Native River is fine at the moment – we’ve just got to make sure that the ground is OK at Haydock,” said Broom, who owns the horse with his wife Anne. “The ground has to be safe for him, because we can’t risk him on anything too fast. We have no Plan B at the minute.”

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

SOUTHWELL: 12.10 Stanley, 12.40 Assimile, 1.10 ANYCITY (NAP), 1.40 Saaheq, 2.15 Essenza, 2.45 Kynance, 3.20 Given Choice, 3.50 Salazar.

CHELMSFORD: 5.15 Times Past, 5.45 Nananita, 6.15 Wadacre Gigi, 6.45 Queen Of Burgundy, 7.15 Dolcissimo, 7.45 Wazin (next best), 8.15 River Cafe, 8.45 Boscastle.

KEMPTON: 4.40 Dancing Jo, 5.00 Snow In Spring, 5.30 The Pinto Kid, 6.00 Sassie, 6.30 Eternal Destiny, 7.00 Zahirah, 7.30 Majorette, 8.00 Who Told Jo Jo.

LUDLOW: 1.20 Jillythejet, 1.50 Keep Moving, 2.25 Shannon Hill, 2.55 Still Believing, 3.30 Honorable, 4.00 Third Estate.

TAUNTON: 1.00 Pottlereaghexpress, 1.30 Samarquand, 2.05 Milldean Silva, 2.35 Braqueur D’Or, 3.10 Hillcrest Fire, 3.40 Onefortheroadtom, 4.10 Collooney.