Lavelle's weather hopes
Emma Lavelle is hoping the weather takes a turn for the better as she is eager to run Claret Cloak in next month's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
The six-year-old finished a creditable third behind subsequent Grade One-placed runner Raya Star in a Listed event at Ascot last November on what was only his sixth racecourse start.
However, the recent wet and cold weather has kept him off the track since and Lavelle is keeping her fingers crossed for a dry spell ahead of the February 9 feature.
She said: "He's fine and in good form but he really needs some nice ground.
"The Betfair Hurdle has been the target and hopefully the weather will improve so he can run.
"I've given him a speculative entry in the Champion Hurdle but he needs to run in a big handicap first to see if he is worth a chance there.
"We are just desperate to get him to the races so we can see where we go with him as he's a lovely horse.
"If we don't get a run, we might have to look at something like the County Hurdle at the Festival as he would be in there on an interesting mark."
Fox Appeal is another who has suffered a minor problem and will also be held back for a spring campaign.
Last seen finishing a distant third behind Big Buck's in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December, Fox Appeal jumped 10lb in the handicap after winning a Kempton handicap in November.
Lavelle said: "He just hurt himself jumping the last couple of hurdles at Newbury so we will aim to get him back for Aintree and Punchestown, too."
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