My Tent Or Yours back in action at Haydock
The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old has been lightly raced in recent seasons and has helped Nicky Henderson once again show off his skill
Dual Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours makes his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle at Haydock.
The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old has been lightly raced in recent seasons and has helped Nicky Henderson once again show off his skill at bringing horses back to their best after lengthy layoffs.
Having his first run for almost two years at the Cheltenham Festival in March, My Tent Or Yours was the only horse capable of giving Annie Power a race, and he also finished second to the mare at Aintree.
He was ready to run at Kempton a few weeks ago, but Henderson felt the ground was too quick there. With testing conditions assured this weekend, he will face the polar opposite.
Henderson's assistant Toby Lawes said: "He is all prepared and ready. We are just going to have to keep an eye on this ground. It looks very sloppy up there.
"He has been in fantastic form at home and ready to run for a while, but we have just been waiting for safer ground.
"Fingers crossed he can run a good race. It is a lovely race to start him off in at the beginning of the season.
"He has grown up a lot at home and has really settled in his day-to-day work. Noel (Fehily) rode him in a piece of work the other day and they clicked very well. We will look forward to having him on board."
Paul Nicholls won the race 12 months ago with Irving but with that one waiting for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle next week, Old Guard takes his place.
Winner of the Greatwood and International Hurdles last season, he has been novice chasing this time around.
However, he nearly fell at the first on his debut and was quickly pulled up and did not jump fluently when scraping home next time at Exeter.
"My thinking of putting him in the hurdle race was he made a few mistakes over fences the last time and if we were going to go back over hurdles, this might be the race to look at," said Nicholls.
"He was a very good hurdler in his own right last season."
Dan Skelton is never afraid of chasing a bit pot and while Ch´Tibello meets My Tent Or Yours 16lb wrong at the weights, with so much prize-money on offer connections have been tempted into running.
Winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle last season, he was fifth to Sternrubin at Ascot on his reappearance.
Part-owner Ian Marmion said: "There's £100,000 on offer and it always cuts up into a small field so we thought we'd take a chance.
"We took him out of the Greatwood last week as we didn't want to tear the guts out of him there but he could finish third here and still pick up £10,000.
"In truth I don't think any of them will want the ground as bad as it's going to be, certainly not the favourite.
"I said to Dan we'd best declare him because if we didn't and My Tent Or Yours was pulled out we'd kick ourselves. We need the money more than JP does!.
"To be honest he was a little bit disappointing at Ascot. We started the season not knowing where he'd end up, but it appears he's just a good handicapper.
"There was talk of going chasing after Ascot, but I wanted to give him another chance as he had a fair bit of weight there and the ground was pretty quick.
"He has schooled well and it could be that he ends up chasing at some point, but after this if the ground stays heavy he might not run for a while.
"We could aim him at the Scottish Champion Hurdle again. I'd love to take him to Galway, but after the experience Dan had with Superb Story that is unlikely to happen."
The field is completed by Melodic Rendezvous, and his trainer Jeremy Scott said: "Melodic Rendezvous is very well. Realistically, we are probably hunting around for a bit of place prize money but the more it rains, the better he will run.
"He would be pretty ready and, historically, his first runs of the season are up there with his best performances. We hope he will run another solid race.
"We are trying a pair of blinkers. I am not sure they will revolutionise him, but they shouldn't slow him down anyway."
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Source: At The Races