The Jedd O'Keefe trained Sam Spinner is now likely to return to hurdles after his poor showing in Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby over fences on Saturday, with the handler looking to give the star a confidence boost.
The eight year old before Saturday had been out of the sport for some time, last being seen in December 2019 at Doncaster landing the Grade Two Novices' Chase.
The gelding has been a superb yardstick for O'Keefe over both hurdles and fences, having been runner up in the 2019 Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival behind Paisley Park and since stepping up to Fences he had been superb being unbeaten on all three of his novice chase starts including the Grade Two Novices' Chase at Doncaster.
After suffering an injury that saw him miss half of last season the team had been taking it fairly easy with the Caron and Paul Chapman owned horse after his injury which saw him pick up a problem with his Pelvis.
Having returned at the weekend in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase the yard were expecting a big run from the gelding but instead he was pulled up by his jockey Joe Colliver, with something not being quite right.
“He’s fine. He ate up everything on Saturday night and he trotted sound and he’s OK,” said O’Keeffe.
“Joe was just worried about him. He said the horse didn’t feel his usual self and wasn’t attacking his obstacles. He was worried if he pushed him too hard, something was going to go wrong.
“I’m very glad he acted cautiously.
“We think rather than it being a physical thing, we think it was probably more of a mental thing and his injury might have taken its toll in that respect.
“Assuming he’s OK in a couple of weeks, we’ll school him again and I think we’re going to have to switch back to hurdles for the time being and try to restore that confidence.”
O’Keeffe has no choice but to now try Sam Spinner at a high level back over the smaller obstacles and has named the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on November 27th as a possible option.
This will see him renew his rivalry with the 2019 Stayers' Hurdle winner Paisley Park with the Emma Lavelle trained gelding set to make his return to the track in that race.
O'Keefe added: “It’s going to be a difficult task because he can’t drop into any old race. It’s going to be a tough race he goes into – the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, probably.
“He could possibly come up against the likes of Paisley Park. We just have to restore his confidence and build on it and see where we are.”