Tom George has been delighted with how The Worlds End has coped with the heavy winter ground and is looking forward to running him in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
George believes his smart long-distance hurdler will not be seen at his best until the ground dries out in the spring and has been heartened by the seven-year-old’s efforts so far this season on unsuitable going.
The Worlds End was fourth to Sam Spinner in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December and filled the same position behind Agrapart in the Cleeve at Cheltenham on Saturday.
“He ran a good, solid race on ground he didn’t like. What I’m pleased about is, even though he’s not enjoying it, he is still putting an effort in and he’s not disgracing himself,” said the Slad trainer.
“You’ll see a different horse once the ground dries up.
“He’s had to have the runs to get some match practice and fitness on his side.
“Now he’s got the runs under his belt we just hope for better ground come March time.”
Black Op booked his ticket to the Festival with an excellent second to Santini in the Grade Two Ballymore Classic Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday, when an untidy jump may have put paid to his winning chance.
“He did everything right. OK, he made a mistake at the last, but what cost him the race was he lost his hind legs after that which stopped him in his tracks,” said George.
“That was the difference between winning and losing, but I was delighted with him and couldn’t be happier.
“He won’t run again before Cheltenham. He’ll have the two entries – the two-and-a-half-miler and the three-miler. We’ll wait until nearer the time before making any decisions.”
It is a similar scenario with Tolworth Hurdle hero Summerville Boy, who has the option of either the Sky Bet Supreme or the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
“He’s A1 and is just doing routine canters at the moment,” said George.
“It’s straight to Cheltenham with him. We’re keeping our options open as to which race.”