RACING

Superstar hurdler Yanworth jumping ‘excellent’ ahead of chasing debut

Alan King’s superstar horse Yanworth, who was disqualified from this year’s Cheltenham Festival, makes his highly-anticipated return to racecourse action at Exeter tomorrow.

The seven-year-old established himself as one of the countries’ top hurdlers when winning five races from six starts; his sole defeat came when found with an anti-inflammatory after his seventh place finish in the Champion Hurdle.

The substance is legal, however trainers must give time for the drug to pass through the horses’ system before racing. King was subsequently fined £2,000 by the BHA.

A winner of two Grade Two races, Yanworth cruised to a first top-level success in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle by just over three lengths, before capping off the year with a second Grade One win in the three mile Aintree Stayers Hurdle.

Now going over fences instead of hurdles, he is hotly fancied to finally break his Festival duck with bookmakers installing him the 12-1 favourite in the RSA and a 10-1 co-favourite for the JLT.

“I’ve spoken to Alan (King), and he’s really happy with him at home,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

“He’s schooled well and I’ve heard his jumping has been excellent at home, he comes here in great form.

“The track should suit him, and I wouldn’t be too worried about the ground.

“It’s a nice little race to start him off, and we’re hoping for a really good run.”

Rated 163, he was the fourth best rated horse over hurdles last year and on ratings he is arguably the biggest name amongst the novice chasers this year.

He is expected to go off at odds-on for the class three event in Devon.

Embed from Getty ImagesYanworth won on his hurdling debut at Exeter two years ago, and connections are expecting another successful visit to Devon

His main rival could be Phillip Hobbs’ Sternrubin, who has enjoyed plenty of big handicap successes over hurdles.

A winner of Ascot’s Ladbroke in 2015, the County Hurdle third-place enjoyed a good campaign over the flat on the Summer and could improve over larger obstacles.

Muffins For Tea, Norphin, and Phobiaphiliac also feature alongside Harry Fry’s Behind Time.

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