Cheltenham Festival 2015 news round-up
Hopes grow over More Of That defending World Hurdle crown:
More Of That may yet defend his World Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival following positive tests results after recently bursting a blood vessel following a piece of work.
The seven-year-old’s participation in the 3m contest on Thursday, March 12th, was thrown into serious doubt earlier this month after the latest blow in a troubled season which has seen the gelding run just once and undergo a breathing operation.
The timing of the setback left trainer Jonjo O’Neill suggesting the World Hurdle would come too soon, and regular Jockey A P McCoy said it was “odds-against” him making the line-up.
However, Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, issued a more upbeat bulletin today saying that the latest test results had been good and that they were very happy with the horse at home.
Coral have left More Of That unchanged at 5/1 for World Hurdle.
Ptit Zig still bang on track for JLT:
Ptit Zig remains on course for the JLT Novices’ Chase despite sustaining a minor injury after falling at Ascot last Saturday.
The Paul Nicholls trained six-year-old suffered a first defeat in five starts over fences when falling at the ninth in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase.
The gelding’s co-owner Barry Fulton said the gelding had suffered had a small haematoma underneath but was now fine and ready to go back in work.
Ptit Zig initially held three engagements at the Festival, but was withdrawn from the Arkle and RSA at the latest declaration stage.
That leaves the JLT as his sole engagement, and he is 7/2 second favourite with Coral for the 2m 4f contest. The Willie Mullins trained Vautour heads the betting at 5/2.
Little King Robin’s Mares’ Hurdle bid in doubt:
Little King Robin is on a course of antibiotics after scoping dirty following her defeat at Punchestown yesterday, and connections face an anxious wait to see if she can recover in time to take her chance in the Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Festival.
Colin Bowe’s stable star was placed in the Morgiana Hurdle and the Hatton’s Grace earlier in the season and was making her return after a break when finishing a well-beaten fifth to Rock On The Moor.
The race was intended as a prep run for the Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday, March 10th, for which she is 16/1 with Coral.
However, plans are now up in the air as she scoped dirty and is now on antibiotics to cure an inflamed throat.
Bowe said the next five/six days were crucial, and determine whether there would be enough time left to prepare Little King Robin for her intended target.