Harden ready for success

Warren Greatrex is looking forward to seeing his star hurdler Cole Harden back in action in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day after his recent reappearance at Newbury.

Cole Harden finished a perhaps slightly disappointing third to Thistlecrack, trained by Colin Tizzard, in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury back in November.

Despite the underwhelming result, Greatrex was pleased with the run at Newbury and he believes Cole Harden is warming up nicely ahead of his engagement at Cheltenham in the New Year ahead of the festival then in March.

The Relkeel Hurdle seems a prime opportunity for the six-year-old and Greatrex, who watched Cole Harden finish third behind Rock On Ruby and Vaniteux, is of the belief that the gelding can produce an even better performance this time.

"He came out of his run at Newbury very well and looks great. I am very happy with him. He was third in the Relkeel last year and, fingers crossed, he can go a bit better this year," said the trainer.

It was confirmed that the impressive hurdler’s season is being geared towards another tilt at the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival in March, a race Cole Harden completely dominated in 2015 when taking a three-and-a-quarter length victory from Saphir Du Rheu.

According to statistics, most people bet on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival at Coral but Cole Harden, who runs on the penultimate day, seems a bet not to be missed. It’s likely there will be plenty written about the hurdler on Coral’s horse racing blog between now and the Festival.

The Grade-1 winner is currently 7-1 joint-favourite with Coral to defend his crown successfully in the Cotswolds and his trainer is confident that the six-year-old can do the business.

"The plan at the moment will be to run on New Year's Day and then go straight for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle,” said Greatrex. “We want the tank full for March."

Cole Harden has one win and a third at Cheltenham to his name, but if he can perform well in the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day there’s no reason why he can’t take another victory at the home of jump racing next Spring.