The Cheltenham Festival is just a few days away, and as you would expect the whole yard is looking forward to it. It is always an exciting build-up, and that is certainly the case this year with our team in great form at home.
All the trainers will be keeping their fingers crossed for a winner next week, and we are of course no different. We were lucky enough to pick up a Festival winner two years ago, with The Druids Nephew, and it would be lovely to think we can add to that tally.
We have been having a brilliant season so far, and we will go to Cheltenham with our strongest team yet. We have several promising contenders in the handicap races, and we are hopeful that we will see a number of them perform very well…
Baltimore Rock has disappointed over fences this season so we are sending him back over hurdles for the County Hurdle. He has been looking good at home so hopefully we can see him return to form over the smaller obstacles.
Holds an entry for the Fred Winter but goes to Sandown this weekend, and we will see how he performs there before making a final decision on his participation.
Three wins from four this season, and the form of his only defeat at Cheltenham has worked out well. He has improved with every run, and we are very happy with him ahead of the Pertemps Final.
Indian Stream has been off since October but she is in great order at the minute, and goes to the Mares’ Hurdle on day one. It will obviously be a tough race but this has been the plan for a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she nicked some place money.
The Coral Cup looks as competitive as ever but Kalondra has been excellent this season, and should have some sort of chance. He has gone up 11lbs for his last win which is a big ask, but good ground will help him and Noel will take the ride.
Pass The Time
Pass The Time has finished 6th and 4th in the Mares’ Hurdle in the last couple of years, and she is likely to be going back for a 3rd attempt. Her performances at Cheltenham are always strong, and her form at the Festival has been rock solid.
Peter The Mayo Man
If he goes to Cheltenham he will go for the Martin Pipe on the final day. He stays galloping in his races so we are expecting the step up in trip to suit, and there is no reason why he can’t put in a strong display.
Provided he gets in, Pilgrims Bay will go to the Ultima Handicap Chase on day one. The way the race is likely to be played out should suit him well with a guaranteed big field, and he will be ridden in the same fashion he was last time, with James Best back on-board.
Pinkie Brown is another one in top order and he goes to the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. It looks like an ultra competitive race but we are hopeful that he is continuing to improve, and his jumping has been impressive at home.
Unfortunately, Shantou Village is one that won’t be going to the Festival. He is just a couple of weeks behind which means we will aim him at races later in the spring.
Impressive winner last time out and he looks set to go to the Martin Pipe race on the final day, along with Peter The Mayo Man. He has been in good form since that recent success so hopefully he makes the cut.
We are very pleased with Southfield Royale, and we are keeping our fingers crossed he has a good chance in the Kim Muir. Preparations have been going well since his comeback run, and it looks as though James King will take the ride.
Along with The Druids Nephew, our best chance of the week.
Won his Pertemps qualifier at Newbury in November and the Final has been the aim ever since. He has been schooling well ahead of this which is pleasing, and he goes into the race fresh and well.
The Druids Nephew
The Druids Nephew goes to the Ultima on day one and it is all systems go. He won this race off the same mark (146) two years ago so we are hopeful of another big run, with Noel booked for the ride.
The Young Master
The Grand National remains the main aim for The Young Master but he finished 3rd in the Ultima Handicap last season, and there is no reason why he can’t run well in the same race once again.