Ricky Holloway is keeping his options open after a last bend collision cost Razldazl Raidio a third consecutive Jimmy Jupp National Hurdle at Hove on Thursday night.
Chasing career open race win 55, the 4-5f had just hit the front when he was struck into from behind. He eventually finished fifth some five lengths adrift of kennelmate Razldazl Star.
It is clear that the hurdle specialist handler is in turmoil over future plans for a dog who is four months away from his fifth birthday. Going into last night, the plan was for one final competition, a dual distance event at Central Park and then retirement.
Holloway said: “My biggest concern is that he could hurt himself. Nor would I want to see him get old and be beaten by inferior dogs. But he has been well looked after thoroughout his career. He is checked over regularly, loves his racing and is still running so well, so I am not sure where we go next.
“I won’t run in any more competitions, but maybe some one-offs. . ? In which case, if he was running well early next year, it would be tempting to have an attempt at a fourth Grand National. Oh, I don’t know! Watch this space.”
A lack of opportunities have restricted the dog to just 83 appearances spread across three seasons of racing. That same problem is currently Springbok/Champion Hurdle winner Lenson Wilson who hasn’t raced in the last month but clocked a calculated 28.85 for Central Park’s 480m flat course in a recent trial.
Holloway said: “I was having to alternate Wilson and Raidio but even then they were scaring off the opposition. There are so few people training hurdlers. It isn’t unknown for Barry (O’Sullivan) and I to have all six runners in a race. But we know that tracks don’t like staging those sort of racers.
“I am delighted that Crayford have added the Kent County Hurdle to the calendar and Crayford have increased the prize money for the Kent Grand National but we are in danger of losing the Champion Hurdle (due to the closure of Towcester). This must be the lowest number of hurdle races ever run in a year.
“As far as Lenson Wilson is concerned, I will have to give him a few races on the flat.”
Of all the hurdlers he has handled to date, the Essex based handler rates Droopys Denny as “the most natural hurdler I have ever handled”
He said: “All dogs can jump, but they can’t all hurdle. Denny went under the hurdle sprint record in his second trial at Central Park and is very exciting. Burgess Brandy is another with great potential.
“I have two here, Cain Hill and Turnhouse Jet, who were both disqualified for fighting but have trialled really well over the hurdles and look great prospects. From a welfare perspective, it is important that hurdle racing is there to give these dogs a chance.”