Champion Hurdle still the aim for Not So Sleepy

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Not So Sleepy could bring his career to a close with a final shot at the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The Lady Blyth-owned 11-year-old, whose crowning moment came when dead-heating with Epatante in the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November 2021, is also a Listed winner on the Flat. Third in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October, he has had two subsequent runs over hurdles, finishing third to Constitution Hill in defence of his Fighting Fifth crown, and when upped in trip to be last of five behind Paisley Park in the rearranged Long Walk Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day. "Not So Sleepy is fine," said Morrison. "We have given him a bit of a break since he last ran at Kempton. He just doesn't operate there. "He always runs best fresh, but there is something about the ground there." The Beat Hollow gelding has won five of his 16 starts over hurdles and amassed over £460,000 in a 61-race career under both codes. The East Ilsley handler will now aim Not So Sleepy at the Champion Hurdle, where he has finished a respectable fifth in 2021 and sixth last season. "He always runs well at Cheltenham," added Morrison. "I think the general feeling is that, at the age of 11, it is time to hang up his boots quite soon and if we feel comfortable, we'll just take him to Cheltenham. "If the top ones turn up, there won't be more than 10 runners and it is a horse race. "There are a lot of ifs and buts - somebody has got to turn up - and I think that will be his next run."

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