Alderbrook looks good


ALDERBROOK'S explosive reappearance to the hurdling scene after nine months of doubt and disappointment has left owner Ernie Pick in a confident frame of mind with 15 days to go before the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The reigning champion dispelled any lingering doubts when annihilating the field for the Levy Board Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday on his first start since last May. Trainer Kim Bailey, who has supervised the gelding's brief but sparkling hurdling career for two seasons, admitted to being nervous before and relieved after the race.

Alderbrooke's previous outing was when he was second to Freedom Cry on the Flat at Baden Baden in Germany.

Connections are hoping for soft ground at Cheltenham and, given those conditions, his opponents look to have a huge task.

Alderbrook came out of Saturday's contest in fine form and eat up well according to his trainer yesterday morning.

But one part of Saturday's winning combination will almost certainly not be part of the Cheltenham challenge as the currently sidelined Norman Williamson will replace Richard Dunwoody in the saddle.

"As far as I am concerned and I think Kim is of the same opinion Norman will ride next time if he is fit and well. He is the stable jockey after all," Pick said.