Laekeeper will attempt to become the 20th horse to complete the Sydenham-Grand National Hurdle double.
Laekeeper has come through his impressive Sydenham Hurdles victory in top order and is the $2.40 favourite to add Wednesday’s $75,000 Hospitality NZ Canterbury 129th Grand National Hurdle to his burgeoning record.
The seven-year-old son of Keeper led throughout Saturday’s traditional lead-up, beating Jackfrost by three-quarters of a length to record his fifth win from just seven starts over hurdles.
“He’s come through Saturday’s run really well,” said Laekeeper’s Morrinsville trainer, co-breeder and part-owner Simon Rees.
“He’s looking nice and bright and he’s been eating all his tea. We’re very happy with him.
“We think everything’s on track for Wednesday. He’ll just have one more little bit of light work in the morning and then he’ll be ready to go.”
Laekeeper will again be ridden on Wednesday by Emily Farr, who has won four races from six previous rides on the rising star hurdler.
According to jumps racing statistician Chris McQuaid, Laekeeper will attempt to become the 20th horse to complete the Sydenham-Grand National double in the same year. Just A Swagger (2004), Joint Effort (2010), Wotabuzz (2012) and Ngario (2016) are the only horses to have done so in the last 25 years.
Sydenham runner-up Jackfrost is the $4 second favourite for the Grand National, which will be run at 3.24pm on Wednesday. The Energizer and Kiddo are at $6 and $7.50 respectively, with last month’s Wellington Hurdle winner Zedeedudadeeko at $8.50.