Grade One Winner Not So Sleepy To Head Straight To Cheltenham

Not So Sleepy

The 10 year old Grade One hurdles winner Not So Sleepy will head straight to the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival according to trainer Hughie Morrison, having underperformed in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

The gelding has been a superb yardstick for Hughie Morrison over the years, running crackers on both the flat and over hurdles, with the pinnacle of his career coming this season when landing the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle in a dead heat with Epatante.

Looking to do battle again with the mare in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day he did not beat a rival home in the five runner event.

Now 10 years of age, Morrison is looking to give him a break and freshen him up ahead of another crack at the Champion Hurdle, having finished a superb fifth last year at odds of 125/1.

The experienced trainer did the same with the gelding last term ahead of the Tuesday festival feature, following his Grade 3 Betfair Exchange Trophy win over Buzz at Ascot in December 2020.

(Credit ATR) Morrison said: "He's extremely well and obviously doesn't think much of Kempton! He had a very hard race at Newcastle before the Christmas Hurdle and we'll try to freshen him up now and head straight to the Champion Hurdle.

"He ran really well in the race last year and hopefully he can do better in this season's renewal.

"I don't see a lot of change in terms of the strength of the division, so if he gets his favoured soft ground and is on his A-game, I wouldn't be surprised if he finished third or fourth. He's a Grade 1 winner now, so we have to keep trying at the highest level."

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing