The Martin Keighley-trained Creepy (5g Westerner-Prowler, by Old Vic) looks to be one of this season’s top staying novice hurdle prospects following his G2 success at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The Westerner gelding, bred by Gareth Metcalfe, quickened well to win the G2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs under Ian Popham.
The five-year-old had finished second over three miles on his previous start at Cheltenham in October and his trainer thought the step back down in trip helped his gelding settle a little better.
“He was a bit too keen last time out and the drop back in trip has just helped him settle a little better. He wouldn’t be the quickest horse I’ve got in the yard but he does it on the track which is the most important thing,” said Keighley.
“We’ve schooled him over fences and he’s a great jumper so I’m looking forward to him going over the big ones which will probably be next season.
“I wouldn’t be afraid of stepping him back up in trip as I think three miles is well within his reach and I’d imagine he’ll be trained with the Albert Bartlett (at The Festival) in mind.”
Winning rider Ian Popham was also full of praise for the son of Westerner. “This horse has done it really nicely and he was still a bit green up the run-in. He was fourth in this race last year and we have taken time with his jumping because it has been a bit of a problem before,” said Popham.
“I rode him over three miles last time and I was always taking him back and therefore I wasn’t making lengths over hurdles because he was too keen. Today, he has jumped great and I have got him going easily.”