Harrington ponders Haydock date for Freedom

Next month’s Swinton Hurdle at Haydock is a possible option for Steps To Freedom after trainer Jessica Harrington decided against running him at the Punchestown Festival.

A high-class novice hurdler last season, the seven-year-old has since been consigned to running on the Flat due to his need for a sound surface.

He was beaten just a couple of lengths by the high-class Parish Hall in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month.

Harrington had been eyeing a possible clash with the likes of Hurricane Fly and Rock On Ruby in Friday’s Rabobank Champion Hurdle, but that is now off the agenda.

“I’ve been very grown up about it and taken him out of the Champion Hurdle,” said the Co Kildare handler.

“It would have been great to run but he’s a genuine good-ground horse and I’ve taken a view that it’s not going to dry out to good by Friday – it will probably be soft.

“Unfortunately he hasn’t run over hurdles in over a year now.

“I don’t know what we’ll do with him now. He could go back on the Flat or, if the ground is right, he could go for the Swinton Hurdle (May 11).”

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