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Cheltenham Festival Handicap Entries And Strong Weekend Runners

Friday 24th February 2017
Stable Talk

It’s always lovely to have some Saturday winners, and we were fortunate enough to pick up a double at Wincanton at the weekend.

Bishops Court made it four on the bounce with his success in the 2m4f handicap chase, and it is terrific to see him continuing to improve. Barry did a brilliant job to stay on him at the last, and given that he took a few risks with his jumping it was a fantastic performance for him to get up.

We will see what the handicapper does to him, but you would hope he has more to come so he is one we will look forward to running again soon.

It was equally pleasing to see Arden Denis win the handicap hurdle in such good style, and as a result he will probably go to Huntingdon for a quick re-appearance.

Walt is another horse that continues to go the right way, and he proved that with a solid 3rd place in what looked like a tough 0-135 handicap hurdle on Saturday. He was giving weight away to the field, and although he didn’t win he is doing everything we want him to do at the moment.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for us at the weekend with Most Celebrated disappointing in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock. He threw away his chance by being far too keen at the start, and that clearly wasn’t his running so we will keep the faith.

We will look to hold him up in his next start in a bid to help him settle, and hopefully that will see him produce his best form.

It was lovely to see Master Burbidge grab his first win over hurdles at Taunton on Tuesday in the handicap hurdle. It was a win you could see coming at some point, and he will be a fun dual purpose horse over the summer for his owners.

My Story was a bit keen in the bumper on the same Taunton card but he stayed on well at the end on debut for us. It looked like a deep race and he should improve for the experience so it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Moving on, I was delighted to make a whole host of entries for the handicap races at the Cheltenham next month. It is fantastic to have so many horses potentially heading to Prestbury Park with chances, and there is no doubt it will be our biggest and strongest Festival team yet.

Looking ahead to the weekend, we have a nice group of runners heading to Kempton on Saturday as well as a couple making the journey to Chepstow.

Rainy Day Dylan pulled like a train on debut for us last time but we are hopeful of an improved run in the maiden hurdle at the Welsh track. We still retain plenty of faith in the horse, and Sean Corby knows him well so we hope that will help him settle.

Also at Chepstow, we saddle Soupy Soups in the Pertemps Qualifier and we very much hope he can qualify for the Final at Cheltenham. He is one that has been going the right way of late, so hopefully he can put in another strong display and make the frame.

Peter The Mayo Man will improve for his run at Musselburgh last time, and we hope the track at Kempton will suit him better in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle. He is another one that is continuing to go well at home, and I’m told he is joint top on the Racing Post ratings so you would hope he has as good a chance as any.

Finally, we have Fingerontheswitch and Pilgrims Bay in the Betbright Handicap Chase and it is lovely to have a couple of chances in a big race.

Fingerontheswitch improved for wearing a tongue-tie last time out, and we hope that it can make a difference again tomorrow. The ground should suit him and he is still off a workable mark when you compare it to his hurdles form, so we are hopeful he can be in the mix for some prize money.

As for Pilgrims Bay, we are hoping that he will improve for being in a higher-class contest. The races have fallen apart around him of late and he is one that likes plenty of activity, so fingers crossed he can put in his best display.

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