Captain Cee Bee winner of the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2008 is looking to follow up this season in the Arkle Chase. Trainer Edward Harty enjoyed his first success at The Festival when Captain Cee Bee won the Novices’ Hurdle two seasons ago and this year, the same horse is back for more and currently heads the ante-post market for The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy. Having missed the entire 2008/09 season, the nine-year-old made a winning return to action in a beginners’ chase at Naas on December 3 and was then well in contention when falling at the last in a Grade One contest at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. His Cheltenham preparation was completed with a comfortable success back at Naas on February 6.
Reflecting on his 2008 success, Harty commented: “We didn’t plan to give Captain Cee Bee such a long break before the Cheltenham Festival in 2008 but the weather conspired against us. It was bottomless ground for the Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle at Fairyhouse and we didn’t want to risk him, so we gave him a little break that December.
“He was supposed to run at Punchestown in early February but there was a mini blizzard during the first race, and the field were finishing like drunken sailors, so we pulled the plug on that run as well. “We knew he was going to be a fair horse from day one and, as time went on, he started to look the real deal, even before his first run. My father had named him after my grandfather, which was a brave call because usually these things go pear-shaped and come back to haunt you.
“The real making of him was actually when he had three runs on the Flat in 2007 Kevin Manning rode him a couple of times. The horse really learnt from having a topflight professional Flat jockey on him and going over a shorter trip on decent ground. He won at Killarney by nine lengths and J P (McManus, owner, who subsequently purchased Captain Cee Bee) happened to be watching the race and he was very impressed with the speed he showed.
Providing His jumping hold up in the Arkle Chase he may well win his second race at 2010 festival.