sport

Betfair aim for Clerk's

Michael Banks is sharing the frustration of many other trainers as he tries to get a run into Clerk's Choice before the Betfair Hurdle.

The Bedfordshire permit holder produced the seven-year-old to finish sixth in the 2011 Champion Hurdle, but an injury to a crucial member of staff saw him send him to be trained by his friend Oliver Sherwood last season.

A third in the Scottish Champion Hurdle was the best he could manage, and with the team now restored, Clerk's Choice has returned to his old home.

"I'm pleased to see Oliver's horses running well again now, as I don't think they were right last season," Banks said.

"My head girl broke her pelvis in three places and was off for a long time. Thankfully she is back now, and I have another very good lad here too.

"But we're getting very bored and frustrated here as I don't want to run him on soft ground, and our other horses want good ground too."

Banks went on: "Clerk's Choice seems in great form at home and the plan is to run him at Newbury, especially as his mark of 147 means there are not too many other places he can go.

"We haven't really buzzed him up yet, but the ideal thing would be if there was a jumpers' bumper at Kempton in a fortnight's time and we could take him there."

Banks said the only other option would be to have a run in an all-weather Flat race, but the nature of his training licence means the gelding would have to be temporarily transferred to another yard.