Not So Sleepy to be freshened up for Champion Hurdle bid

Not So Sleepy, who dead-heated with Epatante in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle earlier in the season, will not have another run before he takes his chance in the Champion Hurdle.

Not So Sleepy, who dead-heated with Epatante in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle earlier in the season, will not have another run before he takes his chance in the Champion Hurdle.

The 10-year-old was disappointing when last of five to the same opponent in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, but trainer Hughie Morrison did not lost too much sleep over that effort and says he'll head straight for the hurdling blue riband in March.

Not So Sleepy was a creditable fifth behind Honeysuckle in the 2021 Champion Hurdle and after his Newcastle success, Morrison feels Grade 1s is now where the horse belongs.

"He's very well. He obviously didn't fancy Kempton that day, which he's entitled to do after 55 races. He's old enough to look after himself," said the East Ilsley handler.

"Now he's a Grade One winner there's little point in going for anything else other than a Grade One, but as he gets older he runs best fresh. He'll go for the Champion Hurdle and we'll hope he can run into a place. He'll go straight there - he won't run before."

Morrison is looking forward to sending Filanderer novice hurdling next season after the gelding made a winning debut in a bumper at Warwick on New Year's Eve.

The six-year-old, owned and bred by Morrison's wife, Mary, made the long wait for his racecourse introduction worthwhile when beating Samurai One by a length and a quarter.

Morrison remains in no rush with the son of Kayf Tara and is likely to run him in just one more bumper before putting him away until the autumn.

Filanderer is bred for the job as his dam, Flirtatious, is a half-sister to both 2002 Champion Hurdle runner-up Marble Arch and Tom Paddington, who was a three-time winner over hurdles and was fifth in the 2003 Cesarewitch.

Morrison said: "I've left him alone. I think they all put a lot into these bumpers on this ground. He came back in good shape but he looked quite tired, if nothing else.

"We'll see where we go. I'll probably give him one more run this season and then look to go novice hurdling next autumn.

"He's taken a long time to come right. Now he's right, let's hope we can keep him right. He's obviously got ability and he's got a nice full-sister for next season. That's something to look forward to."

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