Oliver Sherwood has Sandown’s European Breeders’ Fund Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final in mind as a long-term target for Little Awkward, following his victory at Plumpton.
The four-year-old made a successful jumping debut when making all to win unchallenged in the Derek Hunnisett Memorial ‘National Hunt’ Auction Maiden Hurdle on Monday.
Sherwood is not getting too carried away just yet, because it looked a moderate contest, but he was delighted with the manner of the performance.
“It was a pretty average race, with due respect to the others, but I was more pleased with the way he jumped and travelled,” said the Upper Lambourn trainer.
“He’s a cracking little horse. I wasn’t sure – I normally hate going two and a half (miles) first time, and he’s always shown a lot of speed.
“(But) I’m delighted – he did it very well.
“He needs a bit more experience. I’d like to get him qualified for the EBF final. That would be my ultimate goal, possibly.
“We’ll try to run with a penalty somewhere and go for an EBF qualifier and the final, I would think.”
Stablemate Sevarano may bid to take his 100 per cent record over fences to three at Newbury on December 29.
Sherwood is eyeing a novice handicap chase over an extended two and a three-quarter miles for the seven-year-old, who has won his first two starts over fences at Sandown and Exeter.
“He’s probably going to go for a novice handicap at Newbury between Christmas and new year,” he said.
“Touch wood, he’s been very good. I’ve been very happy with his jumping. He’s been a total natural.”