Ed Dunlop fulfils an ambition on New Year's Day when The Tiger will be his first runner over jumps in the Mirror Punter's Club Maiden Hurdle at Fakenham.
The Newmarket trainer has always wanted to try his hand at the winter game and The Tiger, which he owns in partnership with Ascot racecourse chairman Johnny Weatherby, fits the bill.
But it will be no easy introduction for The Tiger, a winner three times on the Flat in 2012. His five rivals include Chabal, a smart but lightly-raced horse whose last appearance came in August 2010 for Saeed bin Suroor.
"It's his first run and my first runner over hurdles. I hope we haven't made a complete mess of it all," said Dunlop.
"It looks very competitive on paper. John Ferguson's horse won the Sandown Classic Trial the season before last and there's Jonjo O'Neill's horse (Edmaaj) and Lucy Wadham's horse (Watered Silk).
"The Tiger is a big horse by Tiger Hill. I own half of him and Johnny Weatherby owns the other half.
"We thought this was worth a try. I've always wanted to have a jumper.
"He's schooled half a dozen times, with the assistance of Lucy Wadham to start with. Leighton Aspell has schooled him for the majority of it but he's banned so he can't ride him tomorrow. We've got Paul Moloney.
"Fakenham is close to home and the ground shouldn't be too bad, but it looks competitive. We just hope he runs well."
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