O'Keefe wary of 'tough' ask for Sam Spinner
Jedd O'Keeffe has admitted it will be a "tough" ask for Sam Spinner to come out on top in Saturday's Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle.
The Leyburn trainer takes his six-year-old to Newbury for his first outing of the season hopeful he can build on his impressive previous campaign which included victory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last December.
However, with Sam Spinner carrying a penalty going into the race and facing two race-fit rivals, O'Keefe acknowledges that it could be a tall order to expect a win.
"I think we'll be OK ground-wise, so we're all set," said O'Keeffe.
"The Grade One penalty makes life tougher and his two main dangers, Unowhatimeanharry and Wholestone, have both had a run at Aintree and both ran really well - and Unowhatimeanharry doesn't have a penalty, so in that respect it will be tough.
"What I hope is that given he's still relatively inexperienced, there's more to come this season. Things have happened very fast for him, his novice year was cut short by a foot problem and then he shot up through the ranks last year when he was still inexperienced.
"What we're hoping is that he's stronger, wiser and more clued-up. The signs at home are very good and the rider [Joe Colliver] is telling me he feels like that, but we'll find out when we get him out there."
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.