Milton Harris is still hopeful Silver Shade will sneak into the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham next week as he believes him to be ‘very well handicapped’ and ‘a player’.
The Warminster manager fears his recent success at Fontwell will not see him rated well enough to enter what will be a compressed handicap for the extended two-mile run, commonly known as Fred Winter.
“I love Silver Shade and I think he’s handicapped really well,” Harris said.
“But I would say he won’t come into the Boodles. If he comes in, he’s a player. But I don’t know – the weights will go up at the top.
“I think we’ll end up with 10st 8lb or 10st 9lb and we won’t go in. I’d love it if he did. I think he’d be a player – I don’t see him being rated at 120 horsepower.”
Currently a 33/1 shot for the Boodles, if he doesn’t come in Harris will redirect him for what he hopes will be a warm-up run for Aintree on Monday week.
Harris said: “I have to speak to the owner. There is a juvenile at Stratford on Mondays and it is often a very competitive race as the Irish sometimes bring one.
“He’ll have an entry for that, but I might just try to win a rookie with a penalty with the four-year allowance.
“So hopefully he becomes an Aintree Juvenile because once you hit 130 he just might be part of that crowd.”
Harris will take it easy on Triumph Hope Knight Salute
Harris has confirmed that the undefeated hurdler knight salute will head for the Triumph Hurdle.
As one of Britain’s leading prospects on the market at 12/1 behind Vauban, Pied Piper and Fil Dor, Knight Salute won a Grade Two at Cheltenham in November and went on to take the Adonis Hurdle in style at Kempton .
“Knight salute goes to Triumph, as accurate as you can get at this point,” Harris said. “The clear plan is to go for the Triumph, I don’t see any advantage in carrying the higher weight in the Boodles.
“I’d like to say he shone. On the Tuesday before going to Kempton and winning last time, he worked well, but he’s not a good workhorse.
“He’s unbeaten in five and won three Grade Twos and they keep telling me he can’t win. We haven’t met any of the Irish horses yet and if they’re as good as they are say, then we could finish fourth and still run a blinder.
“He will do very little by next week. We will probably work on him this Saturday. He won’t do much, he doesn’t need it, he’s a very professional horse and we just have to stay healthy and in good health. .”
Sanddown option for Mullenbeg
Meanwhile, Harris could bypass Cheltenham with Mullenbergwho is one of Britain’s leading hopes for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
The mare is unbeaten in two starts since arriving from Ireland in December, including a fine effort when landing a Listed Mares bumper Cheltenham in January.
However, Harris, who has 43 winners in her fourth season since returning to the training ranks, is considering the possibility of bringing her into the EBF Listed Mares bumper final at Sandown on Saturday.
“Mullenbeg could go to Sandown on Saturday,” he added. “She will be the favorite for the mares at Sandown and 14/1 or 16/1 against the boys at Cheltenham.
“My thinking, subject to owners approval, is to go to Sandown and then go to Aintree with her. We’ll make a decision on Monday, once we’ve seen the entries and discussed it.
“She’s adorable. She’s got a turn of foot, which you don’t often see with Irish three-mile pointers.”
Harris will likely rely on Rosy Redrum in the Champion Bumper.
She won convincingly at Wincanton before staying on nicely, after having a lot to do, to take second place in a hot bumper at Newbury last time out.
“Rosy Redrum is definitely running,” Harris said. “She’s a nice big filly, but nothing went well last time.
“Rosy gets all the allowances – 17lbs – that’s why she’s going to Cheltenham. I always thought she was Listed on the flat, but if she’s good enough to beat the Irish horses I don’t know. Those allowances will help him though.
“Two weeks from now, we’ll all be like, ‘Who would have thought?’ – but it was either good or bad! We can’t wait to be there.”