Plans are always fluid in the racing game but it does appear that Donald McCain is looking to campaign his smart hurdler Overturn at longer distances this season than the bare two miles over which he ran a cracker when second to Binocular in last season’s Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park, writes Elliot Slater.
Overturn is a proven quality performer under both codes and was a superb all the way winner of the Chester Cup in May before acquitting himself well in both the Northumberland Plate and the Group 2 Goodwood Cup this summer. He then turned up at Perth in August where he ran some decent rivals into the ground in once again making every yard of the running to win the Scottish Hydro Summer Champion Hurdle. The 2011 King George VI Chase doesn’t look to be his cup of tea, but his connections still seem to have big plans for him.
Although he has reportedly schooled “brilliantly” over fences, both McCain and Overturn’s owner Tim Leslie have decided that he should remain over timber for the time being with his illustrious stable companion Peddlers Cross (also owned by Leslie) being the focus of attention as the yard’s premier novice chaser. Looking at options for this term however, McCain suggested that he would like to see the seven-year-old Barathea gelding stepped up in trip and that his first target could well be the Ascot Hurdle over nearly two-and-a-half-miles at the end of November. Those looking at the 2011 Kempton chase betting should bear this in mind.
With such a campaign in mind it seems unlikely that Overturn will be asked to drop back to the sharp two-miles of the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, unless of course connections have a change of heart after the Ascot contest. Should he see the trip out well at Ascot then there is sure to be talk of Overturn emerging as a potential challenger to Big Buck’s for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but first we’ll all have to see just how much stamina he possesses and if he proves as good over the longer trip as he has clearly been at the bare two-miles.