Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Quinn's Chance to Take a Bow; Blythe Knight a Value Bet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Quinn's Chance to Take a Bow; Blythe Knight a Value Bet

Article excerpt

Byline: Moscrop

ALTHOUGH John Quinn received two nominations and missed out on a trophy at last night's Variety Club Magic Moments Northern Racing Awards dinner, the Malton trainer could yet take centre stage at Newcastle today.

Blythe Knight, as versatile as his handler, was the horse responsible for Quinn making the final three in both the Flat and National Hunt trainer categories, and the seven-year-old promises to have a big say in the outcome of the WBX.COM Fighting Fifth Hurdle as he bids to stake his Champion Hurdle claim.

Already leading the chasing pack behind Sublimity and Katchit in the ante-post betting for the hurdling title in March, Blythe Knight will have his odds chopped if he can claim the scalp of Katchit in this pre-Christmas trial.

Katchit will be taking on older horses for the first time and last season's Triumph Hurdle hero will need to improve again for his successful Aintree reappearance. His trainer has gone on record as saying that it wouldn't be the end of the world if his star performer is beaten.

The first leg of the WBC pounds 1m bonus that goes to any horse winning the Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle and Champion Hurdle has lured King to Tyneside. The original plan was to go for the Bula Hurdle before the Festival at a venue where he has already won four times.

While it was no mean feat giving 15lb and a beating to Degas Art last time, King is in no doubt that today will be the gelding's stiffest test so far and readily admits Blythe Knight is potentially a big threat, especially this flat track.

An under-achiever for Ed Dunlop before changing hands for 90,000 guineas and joining Quinn, Blythe Knight has developed into one of the most talented dual purpose horses in training. Good enough on the Flat to win at Lincoln, better than that to win a Group Three prize at Epsom, and so talented and versatile to land a Grade Two event at Aintree last spring on only his fourth start over timber.

That was a massive step-up in form for Blythe Knight, he remains unexposed over hurdles, but will need to progress again to be a genuine contender for the championship honours. …

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