Black Op Looks For Hurdles Season Revival

Trainer Tom George is looking to get his star over hurdles last season back firing again after not taking to his stint over fences and now being moved back to the smaller obstacles for the remainder of the season.

George has stated that he has not lost any confidence in his Grade 1 winning hurdler and is looking forward to his return at Cheltenham this weekend under the ride from the stepping in Jonathan Burke.

The Roger Brookhouse owned eight year old when last seen at Cheltenham finished a good second in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices Hurdle finishing behind last season's superstar Samcro.

He then went on to land his first Grade 1 at the Grand National Meeting in the Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree which really put him on the map as a top class hurdler.

His connections and trainer this year started him out as a novice chaser and the plan was for him to take to that immediately like he did over the smaller obstacles but this was not to be the case and the trainer took the wise decision to pull the plug.

Now the plan is for the eight year old to get going from where he left off his campaign over hurdles and George is very optimistic he can flourish again.

tom george

(Credit Racing Post) The trainer said "It wasn't a particularly easy decision to come back hurdling.

"But we'd missed the first half of the season because the ground was too firm, so we never got a proper run of it in three or four little races.

"He was just very awkward when he got close into his fences, but we're not ruling it out that he'll go back chasing at some stage.

"He's had a couple of sessions with [equine jumping expert] Yogi Breisner and the feeling was he'd like to do a couple of intensive weeks of schooling with him, but you could end up messing everything up doing that as he'd be out of his training regime.

"We thought we'd put him back over hurdles and if he cuts the ice there we can see where we are, but we can still send him back to Yogi in the spring before he goes on his summer holidays and again before he comes back in for next season."

George added: "We couldn't be happier with the horse. He's as good as he ever was. On that run the other day at Cheltenham over fences he was beaten seven and a quarter lengths, but he probably gave 20 away with bad jumping. I'd say that was an unbelievably good performance considering the mistakes he was making.

"The ability is there but the jumping was letting him down. I wouldn't say three miles will be a problem for him on Saturday. I think he'll like it, but he's got a lot of pace as well and is no slowboat. He's won a two-and-a-half-mile Grade 1 and run Samcro close over that trip too. He is a stayer, but has a bit of speed."