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Rendlesham glory propels Wakool to new heights.

The gallant grey Wakool triumphed in the Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock with admirable persistence.

Prior to this Grade Two assignment, the seven-year-old had won six times for Scottish trainer Nick Alexander and had steadily climbed the handicap ladder.

Wakool was on and off the bridle at various stages of the extended three-mile contest, turning out less than a fortnight after finishing fourth at Musselburgh. At the home turn, it looked like he was booked for minor honours at best, with the strong-traveling Itchy Feet looking like the most likely winner.

Conor O’Farrell, on the Alexander runner, never gave up, and his stamina paid off late on to enable him to get up and defeat Itchy Feet by one length and three-quarters. Ashtown Lad, a possible Grand National contender, finished third.

“He’s been a tremendous horse and he’s just kept progressing since his juvenile days and now he’s won a Grade Two race, so I’m thrilled,” said Alexander.

“He won his first race at Doncaster three years ago over two miles and that was his first handicap, so he’s moved up the ranks really nicely.

“I just thought he was never travelling to be honest with you. He had a run 13 days ago and had a hard race and this looked as though it had come too soon for him before the turn for home – when he suddenly came back on the bridle.”

Betfair reduced Wakool’s odds for the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival next month from 33-1 to 16-1, but it appears unlikely that he will compete at Prestbury Park.

Alexander added: “He’d be qualified for it, but I don’t think we’ll go. I’ll speak to the owners but now he’s won a Grade Two, we’ll try to find another Graded race for him.

“It’s quite often that this race isn’t the deepest, perhaps because it’s so close to Cheltenham, so it’s been on my mind for a while and I’m delighted it worked.”

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