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Last Updated: 09/12/11 12:29pm
Paddy Brennan: Rides Halley on his British bow
Tom George admits that he is on something of a fact-finding mission as he pitches Grade One-winning chasing Halley into novice hurdle company at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The four-year-old has proved to be a star performer in France for the Slad-based handler but will be having his first British outing in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Halley landed a Grade One contest for four-year-olds at Auteuil on his latest start last month, and George is keen to see how he fares over hurdles as he is not qualified to run in novice company over fences in Britain.
"He's only a four-year-old but he's already won over £200,000. We know he's an exceptional horse in France, but it's just a question of what we've got over here," said George.
"He's the champion four-year-old in France and certainly appears to be a Grand Steeplechase de Paris horse, but he's not a novice over fences and to pitch him in against Gold Cup horses here wouldn't be fair.
"We need to run him to see what he likes - he's still a novice over hurdles so perhaps it's not for him, but we will see tomorrow. Jumping won't be a problem as he's been round Auteuil.
"We just need to find out how he rates over here and see what our options are.
"He's a tough horse with an unbelievable constitution and he's very streetwise.
"He's only run on soft ground so that would be one of the question marks but he's a good-actioned horse, it's not like he has a knee action, so hopefully that might not be too much of a problem.
"He needs to run somewhere and it will be a good way to find out a bit more about him."
Halley features among a field of just six for the three-mile heat, with Tim Vaughan hoping Rev It Up can defend his unbeaten record over hurdles.
The five-year-old has shown staying is his forte with victories over tomorrow's distance at Chepstow and Ffos Las while he was also a point-to-point winner in Ireland before joining Vaughan's team.
The Vale of Glamorgan handler knows Rev It Up will have to raise his game again to take a hand in the finish but admits any ease in the ground will aid his chance.
Vaughan said: "He's fit and well - he bounced out of his latest run at Ffos Las - and we are hoping that he can continue to progress.
"He has done nothing wrong in two starts. He looks tough and really sticks his head down in his races. I couldn't be happier with him and I hope that he can step up to this sort of grade.
"We are just hoping for some rain before Saturday because the softer, the better for him but he will be fine on good or good to soft although he relishes a softer surface.
"He's a big, raw, old fashioned chaser in the making and is crying out for three miles and jumping fences at some point in the future."
Charles Byrnes' Sea Of Thunder makes the trip from Ireland with Paul Nicholls fielding Deireadh Re.
Ben Case's Brass Tax and the Luke Dace-trained American Spin complete the line up.