Rockerfeller heads for Stayers' Hurdle

King confirms Grade One target

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Neil King will step Lil Rockerfeller back up in both class and trip as he bids to make it third time lucky in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Wroughton trainer confirmed the eight-year-old will take his chance in the three-mile Grade One, in which he finished second in 2017, as opposed to running in the Coral Cup.

After having his chasing career put on hold two starts back, the dual Grade Two winner ran his best race since returning to hurdles when finishing third last time out in the National Spirit at Fontwell.

King said: “I thought it was a very solid run at Fontwell. It was the third time he has run in the race, and I thought it was probably the best National Spirit he has run in.

“He will go back up to three miles now for the Stayers’ Hurdle, because I don’t think he is quick enough for the Coral Cup. He was great after his run at Fontwell, and he looks a picture.

“Paisley Park is the horse we have to beat, but we ran quite a nice race behind him in the Cleeve. He is possibly a bit overlooked, because he has got good course form there.”

Stablemate Brandon Castle will look to maintain his unbeaten record since joining King when stepping up to the top table at the Festival in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

King said: “I think we will go there, because the owners are pretty keen, and I am pretty keen. He has done nothing wrong over hurdles.

“If he was your average five-year-old that had won a bumper and a couple of novice races we might have thought differently, but he is a battle-hardened horse from the Flat.

“He was a bit of a tearaway when we got him. But my assistant, who rides him out every day, and Bryony Frost have done a great job with him – and he is settling more now.”

Having opened his account for the campaign at the seventh time of asking at Uttoxeter, Oh Land Abloom will attempt to follow up in the Pertemps Network Final.

King added: “Oh Land Abloom will take his chance in the Pertemps. He is in career-best form.

“He is handicapped to the hilt, but the 5lb penalty he picked up last time put him in the race.

“I am not sure how is going to find more improvement, but he is in great form and he is consistently game.”

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