George puzzled by Black Op effort

Grade One winner was down the field in Stayers’ Hurdle

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Plans are on hold for Black Op following his disappointing run in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.

The Tom George-trained eight-year-old looked a top-class prospect last spring – filling the runner-up spot behind Samcro in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival before going one better at Aintree.

The current season has not gone to plan, however, with a novice chasing campaign shelved after two defeats.

A third-placed finish behind Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January looked a step forward, but he finished a long way behind the same rival on his return to the Cotswolds.

George said: “Black Op just didn’t get home. Noel (Fehily) said he was thrilled coming down the hill, but nothing has come to light why he stopped.

“There could be a question mark as to whether he stays three miles. He is a fast horse as well as a galloper, as he won his Grade One over two and a half miles last year.

“He didn’t seem to come on from his run in the Cleeve, but they did go stronger again. We’ve not made any other plans for him yet.”

George puzzled by Black Op effort
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