Hurdling debut for Carlo at Cheltenham on Sunday

What About Carlo: Winner of six of his 31 Flat starts

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (

Hurdling debut for Carlo at Cheltenham on Sunday

By Keith Melrose 9:34PM 8 NOV 2016

SMART Flat handicapper What About Carlo is set to make his debut over hurdles in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday.

Trainer Eve Johnston Houghton said on Tuesday: "The ground looks like it is going to be perfect at Cheltenham so the plan is probably to go for the Supreme Trial."

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Though he has had 31 starts on the level, What About Carlo is only five and Johnson Houghton is confident he has what it takes to adapt to his new discipline.


"His schooling has been brilliant. He schooled this morning and went really nicely. I take him to Henrietta Knight's to school and she would not let me run him if she didn't think he was capable.

"We decided to give hurdling a go because he loves a cut in the ground. It makes sense to go autumn, winter, spring and then give him a break over the summer."

The Supreme Trial was won last year by Altior, who went on to win the real thing in March. With the likes of Moon Racer and Ballyandy entered this year, What About Carlo is 16-1 with the sponsors for the first leg.

Support continues for McManus pair

The Greatwood Hurdle is the feature race on Sunday's card and bookies were reporting sustained support for the JP McManus-owned pair at the head of the betting on Tuesday.

Winter Escape, trained by Alan King, heads the betting at a best-priced 3-1 with bet365 on Tuesday evening but is generally shorter despite opening at 5-1 on Monday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Modus was third to Sternrubin at Ascot in October and shaped as though there is more to come. The market would suggest that his owner is willing to throw two big darts at the race.

"JP McManus has a strong hand for Sunday's Greatwood, with Modus now second only to his Winter Escape in the betting, and the former has been popular with punters after his eye-catching Ascot run," said David Stevens of Coral.

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