Sunday’s Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle will prove another significant pointer to the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle in March with Lil Rockerfeller looking to go one better than his second in last year’s renewal.
Runner-up to Camping Ground in last season’s Relkeel, the Neil King-trained Lil Rockerfeller has continued to improve again this campaign and boasts strong form having finished second to Unowhatimeanharry in Ascot’s Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle last start. The latter is favourite for the newly-sponsored Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle (formerly the World Hurdle) at the Cheltenham Festival in a division that has really opened up since Thistlecrack switched to fences.
Lil Rockerfeller’s latest run came on the back of an excellent effort at the same course in the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle, when he went down by three-quarters of a length to subsequent Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle winner Yanworth and his trainer is confident there is more improvement to come:
King said: “We were not originally planning to run at this meeting but Lil Rockerfeller came out of the Long Walk so well that we thought we better pop an entry in and, as things stand, he will run. He was second last year and it looks a good race for him. I thought it was a very good run in the Long Walk and he seems to be getting better with each start this year. He improved last season and is continuing on an upward curve. His form also looks pretty strong now having seen what Yanworth did on Boxing Day and we all know what Unowhatimeanharry is about.”
The 11 entries for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle also include six-time course scorer The New One, who could turn out quickly after finishing second to Yanworth on Boxing Day, and Cole Harden, winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival in 2015.
Catch the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle live on Sky Racing on Sunday night.