Katchit If You Can
Sporting Life - 2007-11-26
Champion four-year-old hurdler Katchit will have to fend off a very stiff Irish challenge if he is to win his first race against his elders in the WBX.Com "Fighting Fifth" Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday, writes Nick Robson.
Alan King's admirable sort is currently the only serious British challenger for the Champion Hurdle crown that has been dominated by runners from across the Irish Sea recently.
Heading up the challenge are the Noel Meade pair of Jazz Messenger and the mercurial Harchibald, along with Willie Mullins' Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Ebaziyan and Edward O'Grady's Clopf.
Al Eile is another top-notch Irish performer in contention for the Grade One event, the first leg of a £1million bonus being offered by the sponsors.
Race veteran The French Furze is poised for his eighth assault, while John Quinn will find out if his dual purpose performer Blythe Knight is up to this class.
Tony McCoy struck up a great partnership with Blythe Knight last season, culminating with a victory in a Grade Two event at Aintree.
However, with the Hennessy Gold Cup being staged on the same day, McCoy may be required elsewhere.
"We've got entries at Newbury and Newcastle so I'm not really sure who will be riding him at the moment," Malton handler Quinn told At The Races.
"If AP was available then he would probably ride but he could be at Newbury, Dougie (Costello) might ride him.
"He's ready, he's in good form and we are very happy with him.
"He would go on any ground but he wouldn't want it too soft, anything but really heavy, jumping ground.
"We hope he is good enough for the Champion Hurdle and it will be one of the targets. Saturday will tell us an awful lot.
"The only thing I don't want is very soft ground, but the weather up here is very good at the moment and the forecast isn't too bad so I don't think the ground will be too bad at Newcastle on Saturday."
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