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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Improving Pendra takes in TolworthHeadlines
Charlie Longsdon

Trainer Charlie Longsdon is confident Pendra will raise his game for the 32Red Hurdle Novices' Hurdle at Sandown Park.

The five-year-old is unbeaten in a bumper and two small races over hurdles, and now finds himself in the intense atmosphere of a Grade One, which is registered as the Tolworth Hurdle.

He is bred for the job, however, being the first foal of the smart mare Mariah Rollins, a Grade One winner for Pat Fahey who later joined Nicky Henderson.

Longsdon said: "He's a great big strapping type who absolutely loves the soft ground. In the three races he's had to date he's done absolutely nothing wrong at all. He's not flashy by any means, he only ever just does what he thinks is enough, but because of that we have absolutely no idea how good he could be.

"I hope he'll improve, and I'm sure he will because we've always thought he'd be the type to run better in a better race rather than look impressive against inferior opposition."

Pendra is among seven declarations, which include Golden Hoof and Royal Boy from the Henderson yard. Barry Geraghty had the choice of the two Seven Barrows runners and admitted it was not an easy decision to plump for Royal Boy.

He said: "It wasn't the easiest call I've ever had to make, but at the end of the day it boiled down to the ground. I think Golden Hoof might just want the ground a bit better, especially stepping up in class. On the other hand, Royal Boy coped with the really heavy ground well at Cheltenham the last day."

Jeremy Scott runs the promising Melodic Rendezvous, while the Clive Cox-trained Poet, who is part-owned by the Hungerford handler's landlord John Francome, will aim to follow up an impressive debut win over hurdles at Newbury.

Francome said: "He won at Newbury better than could have been expected - you always worry a little when they go hurdling as late on as seven. It's not easy teaching the older horses, and he wouldn't go over a pole to begin with, but after flattening the first at Newbury he jumped really well.

"He didn't have a race last time, he was still on the bridle after the last and it would have been the easiest race of his life. As long as he runs well he can be a bit of a project and I'm sure we'll find his level. This is a step up in class, but not when you compare it to the horses he was running against on the Flat."

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