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First Australian Runners On Course For Cheltenham Festival Runs

Wednesday 10th February 2010

In recent years we have seen Australian runners take their place in high profile festivals such as Royal Ascot and now we will see a couple of talented National Hunt performers run at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival. Gorge and Onajet prepare to become the first Australian-trained runners at the Cheltenham Festival. Both horses arrived in Britain on Friday February 5 and are settling in to their new surroundings at Mark Johnston ’s stables in North Yorkshire , where their trainer Cosgriff was a vet for four years prior to setting up as a trainer in his homeland in 2005.

Talented dual-code performer Gorge notched his third victory on the Flat when producing a storming late run to take a 12-furlong handicap at Hanging Rock on New Year’s Day. The eight-year-old gelding comfortably landed a two-mile maiden hurdle at Warrnambool in April and was fourth in one of Australia ’s premier jump races, the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown , Victoria , in August. He is being aimed at the three-mile £100,000 Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 19.

Onajet, a maiden winner on the Flat at Mornington, Victoria, in June, 2008, has made the frame on seven of his 17 starts over hurdles, and the giant eight-year-old is being considered for the £100,000 Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, run over two miles and five furlongs on St Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17.

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