Warren Greatrex may take a tried-and-tested route with Emitom after the exciting novice hurdler maintained his unbeaten record with a facile victory at Lingfield.
The Lambourn trainer was on hand at the Surrey track to watch the five-year-old – whom he rates one of the best horses he has had – make it four from four under rules in the starsports.bet Novices’ Hurdle.
It was nearly a case of being over before it began, though, when the 1-8 favourite forced jockey Gavin Sheehan to sit tight with a blunder at the first.
As the race took shape, the market leader gradually warmed to the task and only needed to be shaken up to see off runner-up Megalodon by five lengths.
Emitom was left unchanged, after his latest win, at 25-1 by Paddy Power for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Greatrex said: “That wasn’t ideal at the first, but in a funny kind of way it probably woke him up a bit.
“Like I’ve said all along, his jumping has taken a bit of time to come to hand – but he was good after that. He is coming back after a setback, where he was under the weather.
“There were a few ideas of going somewhere grand – but as he had been off a while, I thought the best thing to do was win another one.
“He has got loads of class, and I think he is a good horse. He is one of those horses whose biggest asset is his character. ”
That will be tested again, because an inevitable rise in class is on the agenda next.
Greatrex added: “I would say that has done him good over two miles, and Gavin said you could stick to two miles on a stiffer track – but I think two and a half is his best trip at the moment.
“I’d like to step him up in class, and maybe something like the Sidney Banks (at Huntingdon next month) could be an option.
“We have done well in that race, the last few years.
“He needs to sharpen up to be competitive around Cheltenham , but it could be when we put him in a better race he becomes more alert. Talent-wise, he is as good as I’ve had.”