High-class two-mile chaser Bun Doran will step up to two-and-a-half miles for the first time since the spring of 2018 in a Grade Two contest that was saved from last Sunday’s abandoned meeting at Huntingdon.
Clondaw Castle was not due to contest the race last weekend, but is a definite contender at Prestbury Park judged on his Newbury victory of a fortnight ago.
George said: “Clondaw Castle was second in the Old Roan at Aintree on his first run of the season and won well at Newbury. He’s in good form I think he’s progressing well.
“He was also in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup on Saturday, but I was worried the ground might be too soft by then.
“We’re going into unknown territory with Bun Doran – stepping him up in trip.
“He’s too high in the weights for a lot of two-mile handicaps, so we’ll see how he gets on over two-and-a-half. I’m open-minded about it really.”
Another leading fancy who was not due to run at Huntingdon is the Jack Quinlan-ridden Kalashnikov.
Amy Murphy’s stable star prefers a left-handed track, and having been just touched off in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle a few years ago, he clearly acts at Cheltenham.
“Kalashnikov is in good shape,” said Murphy. “The Peterborough Chase wasn’t Plan A, but now it is being run on a left-handed track, it made sense.”
Meanwhile Dr Jerry Hill, the British Horseracing Authority’s chief medical adviser, has been been awarded the George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in Racing at the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association’s annual Derby awards.
Hill has received the prize in recognition of his role in British racing’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as his six years of work to improve the safety and wellbeing of jockeys.
Hill played a crucial role in devising the detailed protocols which enabled racing to be the first major sport to resume following the national lockdown.
He said: “I’m utterly humbled to receive this award, which is in truth recognition of the achievements of a wide range of people.
“Managing the sport’s response to coronavirus has been a truly team effort, and I am just pleased to have played my part in a process that has seen so many people give so much on behalf of the sport.
“I am very fortunate to be able to work with fantastic, dedicated, elite athletes day-in day-out in the form of our jockeys, and while great progress has been made I believe that there is so much more we can do together in the future to improve the lives and lifestyles of these brave individuals.”
Hollie Doyle was named Flat Jockey of the Year with North Yorkshire’s Brian Hughes taking the jump jockey equivalent after his title-winning campaign in 2019/20.
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