Clyne to bypass Cheltenham

Clyne is unlikely to make an appearance at next month's Cheltenham Festival despite his fine effort in defeat in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Clyne (pale blue) is too badly handicapped for Cheltenham

Having rounded off last season with successive wins at Ffos Las and Warwick, the seven-year-old picked up where he left off with back-to-back victories at Haydock in November and December.

He then gave The New One a real fright in the Champion Hurdle Trial back at the Merseyside venue last month and lined up in Saturday's fiercely competitive handicap 5lb well-in on official ratings.

While he performed admirably to pick up minor honours in third behind Ballyandy and Movewiththetimes, trainer Evan Williams feels the run exposed the limitations of his charge.

He said: "We went into the race knowing we were well handicapped, the problem is we only had 5lb or 7lb up our sleeve and the first two had stones up theirs.

"The first two were the standout horses on the day. They were running off marks in the 130s and you wouldn't be surprised if they ended up 160-rated horses at some time in their lives.

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"Our horse isn't as good as the two that beat him, it's as simple as that really and we have no complaints.

"Clyne is a lovely horse and if all your horses were as solid as him the job would be easy.

"He's in the Champion Hurdle, but that was a pipe-dream, so we'l take him out of that in the morning.

"He's badly handicapped now, so I don't see any point in entering him in handicaps at Cheltenham as he'd only be running for the benefit of other horses.

"What we could do is aim for Aintree as there is some good prize-money on offer in those two-and-a-half-mile and three mile conditions races."

The Llancarfan-based trainer is undecided as to whether pursue a career over fences with Clyne next season or stick to valuable hurdle races.

"The way he jumped some of those hurdles yesterday, he looked like he'd jump a fence," said Williams.

"I've never thought of him as a chaser as he's quite a long and light-framed horse, but it's something for us to think about for next season.

"The only thing is, he's a horse that handles soft ground very well and some of those conditions hurdles cut up to three or four runners.

"They're valuable races and he can win plenty of money running in those without winning, so that's something for us to consider as well."

Read More at Sporting Life

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