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Cheltenham Festival 2015 news round-up

| 19.02.2015

Jezki camp fear Faugheen:
Trainer Jessica Harrington believes the unbeaten Faugheen is undoubtedly the biggest threat to Jezki retaining his Champion Hurdle crown on Tuesday, March 10th.
Jezki beat My Tent Of Yours by a neck 12 months ago and followed up with victory over Hurricane Fly at the Punchestown Festival.

The Fly has got the better of the seven-year-old in three meetings so far this season and Willie Mullins’ legend is set to to take him on again in the Champion.

But it is Hurricane Fly’s stable companion Faugheen who is the Coral’s 11/10 favourite to take the title away from Jezki (5/1), and the one Harrington fears most.
She said today: “I have no hesitation in saying Faugheen is the biggest danger. He’s beaten what’s been served up to him in England and I just think he’s the unknown quantity.”

10/1 the field for Coral Cup as handicap entries unveiled:
Activial, Quick Jack and Regal Encore are the 10-1 co-favourites of three for next month’s Coral Cup, in the sponsor’s opening show on their Cheltenham Festival race.

The firm has also opened betting on a further seven Festival handicaps today, with the Crabbie’s Grand National favourite Shutthefrontdoor among the 10-1 market leaders for the Ultima Handicap Chase, while stablemate Taquin Du Seuil heads the Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate betting at 8-1.

“Coral is one of the longest-standing commercial sponsors at Cheltenham, with a relationship dating back to the Coral Golden Hurdle Final in the 1970s, and this long-term partnership is something we are extremely proud of, indeed we recently extended our sponsorship of the Coral Cup for another five year period,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
Coral Cup: 10 Activial, Quick Jack, Regal Encore, 12 Arbre De Vie, 14 Aux Ptits Soins, Batavir, Bayan, Calipto, On Tour, Tea For Two, Unique De Cotte, 16 Bar

Gold Cup hope Road To Riches delighting Meade:
Road To Riches, currently 8/1 third favourite with Coral for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is set to have a workout at the weekend as part of his preparation for the 3m 2f contest on Friday, March 13th.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned eight-year-old will then have an away day at either Leopardstown or Navan as his final piece of work before bidding to give his owners their sceond winner of the race following the success of War Of Attrition in 2006.
Trainer Noel Meade reports this season’s Lexus and Champion Chase winner in fine form, and if Road To Riches were to prevail he would be the first winner over the larger obstacles at the four-day meeting for the County Meath handler.

Meade has saddled just three winners at the Festival, and all those successes have some hurdle contests with Sausalito Bay (2000) and Go Native (2006) triumphing in the Supreme and Nicanor (2006), capturing the spoils in the Neptune when it was known as the Royal & SunAlliance.

All-systems go for Sire De Grugy:
Sire De Grugy is set to have his final prep run for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Chepstow on Saturday after pleasing trainer Gary Moore in a schooling session this morning.
The nine-year-old will take part in the £25,000 Rifles Handicap Chase ahead of his bid to retain his crown at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday, March 11th, for which he is currently 6/1 with Coral.

Moore is keen to give his stable star another racecourse test after he unseated regular pilot Jamie Moore at the third-last fence in the Game Spirit at Newbury earlier in the month on his belated return to action after injury.
He said: “He schooled very well and I’m very pleased with him. It looks like it’s all systems go for Saturday, I’ve just got to speak to the owners.”



David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.