TRAINER Jedd O’Keeffe is hoping to restore Sam Spinner’s confidence and get his classy staying hurdler back on track in this month’s galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Last season’s JLT (Long Walk) Hurdle winner unseated Joe Colliver at the second flight when trying to repeat his 2017 success in the Ascot Grade One.
O’Keeffe believes his charge appeared to take an instant dislike to the padded hurdles, three weeks after his seasonal debut at Newbury where he was badly hampered at the second-last in the Long Distance – with Colliver being unshipped.
The Leyburn trainer is to give Sam Spinner some schooling to see if he has got over his bad experience.
“Sam’s great, he’s back cantering, all seems good,” said O’Keeffe. “Obviously we’re going to do some schooling, and then we’ve got to assess where we are with him.
“We don’t know the answer as to why he behaved like he did at Ascot. My feeling is he took exception to the padded hurdles he hadn’t seen before, and they gave him a bit of a fright.
“People are saying it wasn’t the first time they’d seen it. It was the first time I’d seen a horse react like that.
“If we can get everything right and going again, the plan would be to go back to the Festival for Stayers’ Hurdle.”
Fergal O’Brien is to give Poetic Rhythm a break to try to regain lost confidence after an uninspiring start to his chase career. Winner of the Grade One Challow Hurdle last season, Poetic Rhythm has not appeared to adapt well to fences this term.