14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Vendor leads Feilden fanciesHeadlines

Alan King's Vendor aims to put a disappointing seasonal reappearance behind him in the Sportingbet Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury on Thursday.

The two-mile Listed contest, better known as the Gerry Feilden, was won by subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby 12 months ago. While it is unlikely to unearth a similar star this time around, each of the six runners can be given some sort of chance.

French recruit Vendor, a staying-on third when favourite for last season's Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, was pulled up on his comeback at Aintree but connections are hopeful he can bounce back.

Tony Stafford, racing manager for owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds, said: "Unfortunately things didn't work out at Aintree. He pulled too hard, running on very soft ground over a trip that was too far for him (two and a half miles).

"It was probably wrong to go there in hindsight, but he had to start somewhere and hopefully he'll have improved considerably for the run. He's back at two miles, which is where he wants to be. The ground is a bit of an issue. I think he acts on it but obviously he's got to relax when he is running in testing conditions.

"He is far more relaxed at home now, so hopefully he is the same when he gets back on the racecourse. He is a talented horse. He's only a four-year-old and still quite raw and I think we've only scratched the surface so far. He was very green in the Fred Winter. It was his first dog fight and he was stuck in traffic, but he finished his race well."

The Rebecca Curtis-trained Peckhamecho reverts to hurdles after being well beaten on his last two starts over fences.

Curtis said: "He's probably on a high enough mark, but hopefully he'll run well. It's a confidence booster as much as anything as he has lost his confidence over fences. Hopefully he'll enjoy himself. He has won on soft ground over hurdles, but I suppose it's going to be extremely soft, so that would be another question mark."

Dean Ivory does not have many runners over jumps, but is confident of a bold show from Valid Reason following his fine second at Sandown earlier this month.

"On his last run, he has to go there with a very good chance. He ran really well at Sandown and just didn't get home up the hill. Back on a flatter track, it will suit him well. I thought the race would cut up a bit, but I didn't think it would cut up to just six runners, so it's great for us. He's fit and well and hopefully he'll run a very big race," said Ivory.

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