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Green Book heads for Prestbury Park

Green Book, leftGreen Book, left
© Photo Healy Racing

Green Book will head straight to the Pertemps Hurdle at Cheltenham after a popular success at Sandown on Saturday.

The six-year-old showed plenty of determination to take the Virgin Bet Heroes Handicap Hurdle under Charlie Deutsch, following up his victory in the extended two miles and seven furlongs race last year.

Trainer Venetia Williams was full of praise for the Authorized gelding, who went on to be a fair fifth in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last season.

The Kings Caple handler admitted he is not typical of the horses she usually buys, however.

“I haven’t bought many off the Flat in the last few years, but he’s been a superstar,” she said.

“I bought him unseen from the sales. I told my agent, ‘Don’t look at him’, because I thought if he looked at him, he’d say, ‘No, he’s not like a jumper’. So I said, ‘Just buy him. I want him’.

“I liked his breeding, I’d watched all his races and I thought they were under-tripping him in France and thought he was crying out for a trip.”

Green Book, who is out of an Oratorio mare, won just once in 17 races on the Flat, but has been a money-spinner since joining the Herefordshire yard, taking four of his 11 starts over hurdles and finishing runner-up on another two occasions.

He stayed on doggedly up the Sandown hill for the second time in as many years, having looked disinterested through the first part of the race.

Williams added: “The whole way round, he was looking like it was all too much like hard work, but yet he keeps doing it. Just a few strides before the line, he pricked his ears.

“He probably won’t run before the Pertemps at the Festival.”

After a quiet spell, the yard has hit form over the last week, Gemirande brought up an across-the-card brace on Saturday.

The seven-year-old produced an impressive round of jumping under Shane Quinlan at Wetherby to take the William Hill Cheltenham Preview At Wetherby Handicap Chase by five and a half lengths.

Williams said: “He is one of the few of ours that I’ve been happy enough to run on goodish ground.

“It wasn’t good ground, but it was goodish. He loved it. He might go to the Greatwood at Newbury in early March.”