LiveScore Racing News: O'Brien pinning hopes on Final Nudge
Trainer Fergal O'Brien is confident Final Nudge can perform strongly in the Veterans' Handicap Chase at Sandown on Saturday as he looks to edge towards a century of wins for the season.
The prestigious £100,000 race for horses aged over ten heads back to Sandown where experienced contenders look to try and roll back the years.
At 13-years-old, Final Nudge is one of the oldest competitors in the 13-strong field.
He last raced at Warwick in another of the Veteran's Chase series events and was the victor, coming home three-quarters of a length clear of Fagan.
Previously, he has raced in the Grand National at Aintree but fell at the eighth hurdle in the 2018 race won by Tiger Roll.
He finished third in the Listed Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in April and he has also had wins at Market Rasen and Newbury.
The success at Warwick has taken his handicap rating back up to 137 and O'Brien is looking forward to seeing how the veteran will perform at Sandown.
He said: "We were delighted with him at Warwick. He ran a cracker for us in the Midlands National last season to be third and Paddy [Brennan] immediately said on pulling up 'send him to Sandown for the veterans' final'.
"We got him qualified at Warwick and while we were hopeful of a good run we weren't expecting a whole pile, but he did the job very well.
"He's a lovely horse, he's very straightforward to train and we're really looking forward to it."
2019 Ryanair Chase runner up Aso is the current ante post favourite after finishing second to Blaklion in the Veteran's Chase series race at Haydock last month.
David Pipe's Gwencily Barbas is also in the running and is one of the relatively young competitors aged 11.
The 2015 Hatton's Grace Hurdle third-place finisher won at Exeter last time out after placing in his previous three starts, and Pipe believes he is good enough to compete near the top of the field on Saturday.
He said: "I think he was too big a price when he won at Exeter.
"He had run well at Sandown in a veterans' qualifier prior to that [when third] on ground that was too quick for him.
"He will take his chance. He might not be as classy as some of them in the race, but he is in good form and it is a good race to take your chance in."