Warren Greatrex is confident of a bold show from the talented Western Ryder in Saturday’s Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown Park.
A talented bumper performer, the six-year-old son of Westerner was fifth to the ill-fated Fayonagh in the Champion Bumper at this year’s Cheltenham Festival before chasing home the quirky but classy Lalor in a G2 bumper at Aintree in April.
The transition to hurdling has yielded further improvement with Greatrex’s charge brushing aside a disappointing first effort over timber when he unseated the rider to land contests at Chepstow and Cheltenham.
In the latter event, Western Ryder atoned for his defeat to Lalor with a smooth two length success over the same rival with the gelding keeping on powerfully up the punishing Cheltenham hill to highlight his credentials as a novice hurdler to follow throughout the season.
Stepping into Grade One company, Greatrex is assured by the fact his horse stays well and will relish the likely testing conditions, with the going at Sandown currently heavy with further showers expected.
He won well last time and he won’t mind the ground. He seems in really good form at home and it is the next step to see where we are. It’s a race we’d thought about if he showed enough.
It didn’t start off well at Stratford, but then he won well in heavy ground at Chepstow and if you can win in that you can handle any ground, really. Cheltenham was then another step forward. It looks a hot race, but I go there knowing my horse will stay very well and that he will handle the conditions. He is improving and learning all the time.