Entries for the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival closed today and we have a really exciting team for the four days.
On the Tuesday, Bottman and Definite Dawn are our representatives in the 3m Grade 3 handicap chase. Bottman was a close 5th at Cheltenham last month, while Definite Dawn finished 2nd there when last seen in October and has had a good break since. Bottman is also entered in the 2m5f Listed novices’ handicap chase that concludes the card along with Saint Are, who won the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last year – I am confident there is more to come from him over fences.
We have last year’s Cheltenham bumper second Destroyer Deployed, Gerry Fielden 4th First Fandango (pictured left at Newbury under Michael Byrne) and former Fred Winter runner-up Ski Sunday in the Coral Cup on Wednesday, with Newton Abbot scorer George Woolf and the exciting Irish import Solaras Exhibition in the Fred Winter.
On World Hurdle day, Ben’s Folly is our sole representative in the Pertemps, but we have three in the Byrne Group Plate, with Bottman joined by the Grand Sefton winner Stewarts House (pictured right in winning action under Aidan Coleman) and exciting new recruit Tartak, who would have a good chance off his current mark on some of his old form. Definite Dawn and Welsh National 6th Our Island are our two entries in the Kim Muir, with both also engaged in the 4m National Hunt chase.
Coral Cup entry Ski Sunday is also in the County Hurdle, in which he was 9th last year and is joined this time around by Rigidity, who joined the yard this season and has already run with great credit this season in the Ladbroke (2nd – pictured left, nearside under Rob Kirk) and the Betfair (8th) last time.
Our handicap entries are completed by Destroyer Deployed, Elsafeer, First Fandango, Rigidity and Ski Sunday in the Martin Pipe conditional jockeys race.
It is fantastic to have such a strong, talented team for the Festival and everyone at the yard is really looking forward to what will hopefully be a successful four days of top-class racing!