Smart Hurdler OK Corral to Show Chasing Credentials

Smart hurdler OK Corral will be seen for the second time over fences tomorrow at Warwick and if he has learnt from the couple of mistakes he made on chasing debut, he could turn out to be a better chaser than he was a hurdler. He won nicely first time up at Plumpton, asserting well despite a couple of mistakes and it will be interesting to see if he can jump a little better tomorrow and cut those out. He goes to post in the listed novice chase at the venue, and has Rocky’s Treasure as his main danger to deal with.

Those punters who like to look ahead will be very interested to see the jockey booking for OK Corral tomorrow. He looks a strong staying chaser and the booking of Derek O’Connor, who comes over from Ireland suggests that his Cheltenham Festival target may already be known. O’Connor is the number one amateur used by owner JP McManus and the move to come over would suggest that O’Connor is going to ride the horse at the festival, and he is using the race tomorrow to get to know the horse.

If that is the case then the obvious festival target for him is the four mile novice chase, which is a race confined to amateur riders only. Therefore, whether you back OK Corral on the day or not, look out for his jumping improving from his Plumpton run, and also look for him to stay strongly and show that he would be capable of running over four miles at the festival.

As far as his chances tomorrow go, he looks to have a good one and the weight he gets from Rocky’s Treasure could be enough to swing it in his favour if he can jump a little better than when at Plumpton. One thing Derek O’Connor will have to be wary of is the pace of the race, with just four runners he cannot really afford for it to turn into a sprint. At Plumpton, OK Corral took the running up and went on from the front part way through the race so there is the option for him to make all the running.

It appears as though this horse is heading to the four miler, showing the yard believe him to be an out and out stayer. If that is the case, this race needs to be run at a genuine pace, because a sprint at the end is no good for him, and that is something that Derek O’Connor is going to have to judge for himself when the race gets going.

An interesting jockey booking and an interesting contender at Warwick tomorrow in the shape of OK Corral and Derek O’Connor.