King eyeing Formby test for Lookaway

Monday, Dec 04, 2023

LONDON: Lookaway could step into deep waters for his next start, with Aintree’s Formby Novices’ Hurdle on Boxing Day a possible option for the Greatwood Hurdle runner-up.

Neil King’s six-year-old enjoyed one of his finest hours on Merseyside when claiming the Grade Two bumper during the Grand National meeting in 2022 and following a forgettable 2022-23 campaign, has sprung back to life with a fine run of form.

Having won cosily in two low-key Uttoxeter events in the spring, he brought up a three-timer in a Cheltenham Grade Two in October before narrowly missing out on more Prestbury Park success when chasing home Iberico Lord most recently.

He received a 4lb rise from the handicapper for that performance which brings Ascot’s Betfair Exchange Trophy on December 23 into calculations, but King is leaning towards waiting three days for a first taste of Grade One action in Liverpool.

“He’s taken the Greatwood well and come out of it nicely,” said King.“He only went up 4lb for that which I thought was very acceptable and it will be all systems go now for either the big hurdle at Ascot on the Saturday before Christmas, or probably more likely the race that was the Tolworth that’s at Aintree.

“He’s ran well at Aintree before and we’ll enter for both and keep an eye on the weather etc. But I thought it would be more likely we’ll go for the Tolworth.“I’m thrilled with his progress, he’s stepping in the right direction and the direction we thought he would. He has plenty of options being a second-season novice.”