Kamsinas on course for trip to Aintree

Fergal O’Brien eyeing Formby Novices’ Hurdle, formerly known as the Tolworth.

Fergal O’Brien’s Kamsinas could head in the direction of the Formby Novices’ Hurdle after a smart Graded success at Haydock on Saturday.

The six-year-old won first time out this season and then headed to Cheltenham for the Grade Two Sky Bet Novices’ Hurdle last month, in which he finished second when beaten by a nice horse in Neil King’s Lookaway.

At Haydock, he was a 16-5 chance for the Betfair Racing Podcasts Newton Novices’ Hurdle, another Grade Two, and travelled in midfield for much of the contest under Paddy Brennan, while producing a neat round of jumping.

The bay then took up the lead three hurdles from home and held off all of his rivals to secure a pleasing length and a quarter success for owners Noel Fehily Racing.

“I was delighted with him, he did it very well and travelled and jumped beautifully,” O’Brien said.

Betfair Chase Day 2023 – Haydock Park Racecourse
Kamsinas touching down at Haydock (Nigel French/PA)

“We were over the moon with him, fingers crossed he can keep going forward and progressing.

“He was very unlucky in his first bumper when he got brought down, then he came back and won a bumper.

“By the time he ran with a penalty, he’d been in a long time, but he won first time out this year. He was a bit unlucky at Cheltenham, he finished second and then went and won on Saturday, so he has been very consistent.”

The Grade One Formby Novices’ Hurdle, previously known as the Tolworth, is now up for discussion as its new location at Aintree is expected to suit the French-bred gelding.

“I’ve got to clarify it with Noel and David Crosse from Noel Fehily Racing, but it seems the obvious route,” O’Brien said of the race.

“With the Tolworth being moved to Aintree and Aintree being pretty similar to Haydock, it should suit.

“The timing is right, so it’s the obvious place.”

O’Brien has another promising hurdler on his hands in Crambo, third in the Betfair “Serial Winners” Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at the same Haydock meeting.

Crambo and Connor BRace at Aintree
Crambo and Connor Brace at Aintree (Tim Goode/PA)

The six-year-old is a two-time bumper winner who has always looked to have a good deal of ability over hurdles too, having won four times over the obstacles before starting at Haydock.

Crambo was a 5-1 chance under Connor Brace and though the pair found themselves too far back to mount a winning challenge in the closing stages, the gelding still caught the eye when running on to finish strongly in third.

Discussions will now be had as to whether the bay contests more handicap contests or steps up to a Graded event on his next start.

“I was delighted with him, he tried very hard and just didn’t get any luck in running,” O’Brien said of the horse.

“It’s no surprise to be beaten by two well handicapped Irish horses, I’ve got to speak to the owners and decide if we try a Graded race or go down the handicap route.”

The Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival has been mentioned and is a viable target, with connections ultimately having to decide whether to take aim at the race this term or wait until next season.

O’Brien said: “I definitely think he’s up to it, it’s whether we are a year too soon or not. I need to discuss it with the owners and the lads in the yard and see where we think we should go.”

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