Hughie Morrison’s consistent Brother Brian is expected to appreciate a first try at 3m in the 2:05 Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival.
Since being united with jockey Tom O’Brien he has yet to finish out of the places in six rides and looks a fine each-way proposition for the Thursday handicap hurdle at 12/1, especially as the bookie will pay out on five places.
Brother Brian has been off the track since finishing a credible 8l third to the 160-rated Rock On Ruby over 2m4f in Cheltenham’s Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle.
Not unpopular among the punting fraternity that day he stayed on well after being headed, suggesting a step up in trip might well suit.
He has a host more promising form to his name during his seven-race career over timber too.
Fourth in last season’s EBF Final at Sandown, always a strong contest, he followed that run by winning a competitive handicap on Cheltenham’s new course a month later.
That 2m4f contest, run on the same track he’ll face in the Pertemps, produced several winners.
The second hasn’t run since, but Edgardo Sol (third) went on to finish in the frame in two graded chases, while the fourth went on to boot in a hat-trick over the larger obstacles.
Boondonna in fifth came into the race on a three timer of his own and scored by 6l on his next run and sixth The Romford Pele has also run up a three-race sequence since.
That quartet are rated 144, 147, 137 and 129 over hurdles now and further down the field that day were Broadway Buffalo and Thomas Crapper, both silver medallists on the Festival’s opening day this year.
Next time out he won his qualifier for this race at Kempton despite Morrison telling the Racing Post afterwards:
“That wasn´t a bad performance as we weren´t sure about the ground and also he likes going left-handed. I don´t know where we will go now.”
Royal Regatta, more than 3l behind him in second, went on to score next time.
Fourth on the day, receiving 2lbs from the victor, was Call The Cops, more than 6l back.
Nicky Henderson’s hurdler is now 8/1 joint-favourite for the Pertemps after an easy Doncaster win last time.
Such strong form has earned Brother Brian a rating of 144 and a weight of 11st4lbs for his date with festival destiny, but that needn’t put punters off.
While seven of eight Pertemps winners between 2005 and 2012 carried 10st11lbs or less, the last two years have seen a distinct change in the status quo.
Across both the 2013 and 2014 renewals the first four horses home have all carried 11st or more.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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