Hen­der­son won­ders: Will Call Me Lord stay?

The Racing Paper - - News - by Wil­lis Jones

NICKY HEN­DER­SON is look­ing for­ward to see­ing how Call Me Lord per­forms over three miles in the JLT Hur­dle at As­cot to­day.

The five-year-old was hugely im­pres­sive on his fi­nal out­ing of last sea­son in the two-mile-five-fur­long Select Hur­dle at Sandown, ac­count­ing for the ad­mirable Lil Rock­er­feller by 16 lengths.

His sea­sonal reap­pear­ance has been de­layed, but he is now ready to make his be­lated re­turn in a Grade One con­test bet­ter known as the Long Walk.

Hen­der­son said: “He had a bit of a hic­cup in the sum­mer. We thought he had colic, and we found a great crys­tallised ball in­side him, and he had to have surgery to re­move it. He was in a bit later than most, but he has done plenty of work.

“He re­ally wants to go right-handed. We won­dered whether we should give him one more try left-handed to see what he’d do, but even at home he still sug­gests he wants to go that way.

“I’m not con­fi­dent about the trip, but that is why we are try­ing it. It was twom­ile-five the last time at Sandown, and the ground was soft enough.

“He loves soft ground, but will he stay? No­body knows.”

Call Me Lord is one of three run­ners for the Seven Bar­rows han­dler, along with Top Notch and Soul Emo­tion.

Top-class chaser Top Notch is an­other horse re­turn­ing to ac­tion later than planned after hav­ing a bad re­ac­tion to a flu jab, while Soul Emo­tion steps up in class on his sea­sonal bow after win­ning suc­ces­sive Sandown hand­i­caps in the spring.

“Top Notch is 100 per cent now, but he had three weeks of feel­ing like he had flu. It af­fects one in a hun­dred horses,” Hen­der­son added.

“He has got to go some­where. I’m not say­ing he is just out to have a run on Satur­day, be­cause he is in very good form.

“Soul Emo­tion will love the ground – but again, whether he stays three miles is guess­work.”

Jedd O’Ke­effe’s sta­ble star Sam Spin­ner was a dom­i­nant win­ner 12 months ago, but de­fends his crown with some­thing to prove after un­seat­ing Joe Col­liver when al­ready beaten in the Long Dis­tance Hur­dle at New­bury last month, and head­gear has now been ap­plied.

O’Ke­effe said: “The ground will be great, and ob­vi­ously he loves the track – so those are pos­i­tives.

“I can’t pre­tend I wasn’t dis­ap­pointed at New­bury. There was a lack of zip, so we’re putting cheek­pieces on just to cre­ate a lit­tle bit of a spark.”

Unowha­timean­harry was only third be­hind Sam Spin- ner in the Long Walk last year, hav­ing won the race in 2016.

How­ever, he looked more like his old self when win­ning the Long Dis­tance last month.

“He’s in bet­ter form than he was 12 months ago, that’s for sure,” trainer Harry Fry said. “With an older horse like him that’s been a great ser­vant to us, it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to see him in good form.”

Pais­ley Park steps up in class after a fine weight-car­ry­ing per­for­mance in a valu­able hand­i­cap at Hay­dock last month.

Trainer Emma Lavelle said: “It was a ques­tion of ei­ther let­ting him run in an­other hand­i­cap un­der top-weight or hav­ing a crack at the stay­ing di­vi­sion at graded level.

“I think he’s earned this crack. He seems to be im­prov­ing and is grow­ing up men­tally all the time.”

Youn­ev­er­call is in a sim­i­lar boat for Kim Bai­ley. The Yeats geld­ing was raised al­most a stone after bolt­ing up by ten lengths in a Kemp­ton hand­i­cap last month.

Bai­ley said: “He’s had one or two nig­gly is­sues. It’s an in­cred­i­bly tough ask.”

Loves soft ground: Call Me Lord

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