Trainer Tom George has confirmed stable star Black Op is now being lined up for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after his recent good runs at Prestbury Park.
The eight-year-old returned to action in December last year and he finished third at Exeter under jockey Sam Twiston-Davies. He was then entered into the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day before finishing third again.
Black Op, 15.00 to win the Stayers’ Hurdle, finished in the same position last weekend as he narrowly missed out on landing the Cleeve Hurdle.
Paisley Park proved too much for the rest of the field last weekend but George was happy with how his charge handled the smaller obstacles after two previous runs over fences. “He’s come out of it very well. It was quite a hard race for him,” George said.
“He hasn’t had a proper race since last April. Three-mile races are as a hard a race as you can get. It probably found him out a little bit and he got a bit tired.
“That would put him right and we’ve got six weeks or so to get him right for March. I think it’s a step in the right direction.” George’s Cheltenham team is also likely to include God’s Own and The Worlds End he has confirmed.
“God’s Own is having his mid-season break. He enforces it every year,” the Slad handler told Racing TV. “It’s now time to build him up towards Cheltenham and all the spring festivals. The old boy is in great form.
“The Worlds End is in great form. Normally at this time of year it’s bottomless ground and we thought we’d keep him going until Christmas time, but this year we could have kept him going.
“He’s had a nice break and it’s time to build up his work again and he’ll be heading to Cheltenham next.”