O’Keeffe hoping to get right run for Sam Spinner at Aintree

Sam Spinner
Sam Spinner
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Jedd O’Keeffe has his sights set on Aintree with beaten Stayers’ Hurdle favourite Sam Spinner.

The Long Walk Hurdle winner could only finish fifth behind Penhill on Thursday after attempting to make all the running and O’Keeffe feels a little help in that regard would have made a big difference.

“I thought he ran very well but I don’t think he ran quite to his best,” said the Middleham handler.

“I don’t think the way the race was run suited him as he would have appreciated some company in front.

“The horse was probably a little inexperienced for making all on a stage like that. If he’d had some company on the first circuit a stronger pace would have seen him in a better light.

“Whether he would have been good enough to beat the likes of Penhill, I don’t know, but he’s a still a horse that can improve again next year.”

How Sam Spinner fares in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree on April 14 is likely to decide whether he stays over timber or goes chasing.

“We’ve still got the option of schooling him over a fence – we’re in two minds about that – as he’s still a very exciting prospect,” said O’Keeffe. “The plan is to go to Aintree, the track there will suit. Ideally we’d like some company up front so we can help force it with something else or have something to aim at.

“Depending on how he does at Aintree, the French Champion Hurdle is still a possible because if we do consider a novice chase campaign I’d probably prefer to finish him sooner so he can get valuable experience over fences in the autumn.

“If we keep him over hurdles there aren’t too many early-season opportunities, so it’s still up in the air.”

Supasundae could possibly run at both the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals next month following his excellent effort in defeat in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The Betway Aintree Hurdle on April 12 and the Champion Stayers Hurdle two weeks later in Ireland are being considered by trainer Jessica Harrington.

The County Kildare handler reports the eight-year-old to be in fine form, after finding only Penhill two lengths too good at Prestbury Park last week.

“There’s not a bother on him. He’s in great form,” she said.

“We’re not quite sure, but he might go to Aintree and Punchestown.”

Harrington will wait until she has talked with owners the Cooper Family Syndicate before making any plans for Our Duke.

Last year’s Irish Grand National hero disappointed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after finding conditions unsuitable.

“He hasn’t done much since he came back. He’s actually been in his stable because we’ve had snow,” said Harrington. “He’s fine, he’s sound and back in one piece and that’s the main thing.

“I don’t know yet what we’ll do next.

“I’ll be talking to his owners this week.”

Our Duke was Harrington’s only runner in the Gold Cup, with last year’s winner Sizing John withdrawn eight days before the race after sustaining a hairline non-displaced fracture of his pelvis.

The eight-year-old has been having box rest before being reassessed.

“He gets rescanned on Thursday this week and then we’ll have an update on him,” Harrington said.

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