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Tikkanbar Heads To Cheltenham As The Flat Team Hits Top Form

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Friday 26th January 2018
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We went to Haydock Park last Saturday hoping for a big run from Carole’s Destrier in the Peter Marsh Chase, but the ultra-testing ground provided an obvious reason for a muted performance. Thankfully he arrived home in fine nick and there is a 0-150 veterans’ chase at Exeter next month which looks like the ideal target.

There was better news on Sunday with Mount Oliver winning the 3m2f handicap chase at Fontwell Park. It is always fantastic to see a horse break their duck, and there is a 0-105 handicap chase at Catterick next Friday which could be the logical next step.

Willyegolassiego is a tough, genuine filly and that showed on Monday night at Wolverhampton when winning the 1m6f handicap on the level. As I say regularly, we enjoy having winners under both codes and it was fantastic for her to get her 2nd win on the bounce.

As well as Willygolassiego, generally speaking our flat team are in excellent form at the moment, and that continued at Kempton on Wednesday night as Happy Escape won the 1m handicap. Despite a wide draw he showed an impressive turn of foot to claim a 2nd win inside a month, and we hope there is still some more improvement in the tank.

Looking ahead, it is shaping up to be a busy weekend, with Tikkanbar heading to Cheltenham for the Ballymore Classic Novices’ Hurdle on Saturday.

This will be another step up in class though he has done everything and more asked of him so far, and on the strength of that fully deserves his place in the line-up for what could be a hot renewal. We saw on New Year’s Day that the course won’t be a problem, we know he stays and underfoot conditions should suit.

It has already been a lovely adventure with the horse, and it is fantastic to be going back to Prestbury Park with a chance of keeping the dream alive.

Pilgrims Bay has been a star for the yard over the past year - fingers crossed that can continue in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. It is obviously looking like a warm contest, but our lad appears to be in great form at home and the style of track should play into his strengths.

We also considered sending The Young Master to Doncaster, but we will bide our time and wait for Newcastle next month.

Fontwell Park has always been a lucky venue for us, and we have two engaged in the 2m5f handicap hurdle on Sunday afternoon.

Goodgirlteresea ran a stormer last time out finishing 2nd at Worcester back in November, and with Noel Fehily on board we are hopeful she can make her presence felt. Meanwhile, Champagne George is a previous winner at the West Sussex venue and Harry Reed will be taking 7lbs off his back.

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