Knappers Hill To Be Rerouted To Relkeel Hurdle

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Knappers Hill

Paul Nicholls hurdling star Knappers Hill was set to have a big chance last weekend in the Grade Two International Hurdle at Cheltenham but with the fixture being abandoned due to frost, he will now be rerouted to the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day.

Knappers Hill has been a superb horse for Nicholls over the last few years, showing big potential from his bumper days when a winner on all three of his starts, rounding off his season with a win in the 18 runner Grade Two bumper at Aintree, seeing off Grade One winner Stage Star.

Sent hurdling in October 2021, he landed his first two events with ease at Chepstow and then at this meeting under a penalty, but lost his unbeaten record at Ascot in the December when third behind the superstar Jonbon in the Grade Two Kennel Gate.

Sixth of 14 in the Betfair Hurdle when running a decent race, he then lost the plot slightly when only beating two home at Sandown in the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle Final.

Knappers Hill has got back on track since then, rounding off the season with two nice wins at Newton Abbot and Sandown, with the latter being in the Championship Final, with the form taking a boost.

Back for another year, stepped up in trip he got off the mark on seasonal debut for a third straight term at Chepstow in the Silver Trophy Handicap with ease.

Sent into the Grade Two Elite Hurdle he demolished Sceau Royal who normally makes that race his own and obviously showing he is progressing he held a leading chance in the International Hurdle, set to take on the likes of Epatante and I Like To Move It.

However, with Cheltenham's Saturday meeting cancelled and the BHA explaining they will not reschedule the missed races, Nicholls has now elected the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle as his next contest.

“Saturday was frustrating because I thought we had some lovely chances. With all those horses now we’ve got to try and find something else for them,” the trainer told Betfair.

“With Knappers Hill, he could end up going in the Relkeel. There’s no point taking on Constitution Hill over two miles round Kempton and I’d say the Relkeel on New Year’s Day might suit him.”