Thursday, March 18, 2021

Marsh Novices’ Chase:

Willie Mullins, trainer of Asterion Forlonge and Blackbow

Asterion Forlonge jumped well for Patrick [Mullins] the last day and if Paul [Townend] gets him into a good rhythm, he could be placed behind the hotpot Envoi Allen. Blackbow had a promising enough run last time. He jumped well and hopefully going up in trip will bring about improvement.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Chantry House and Fusil Raffles

We’ve all got a big task against Envoi Allen, but I’m hopeful we can give him some sort of a race. Chantry House was great at Wetherby and he’s been in very good form since. He was really good the first time he was at Cheltenham but the next time he didn’t jump so well, but we’ve solved that problem. Fusil Raffles has been off since Cheltenham [in December] but he’s in great shape. The more it dries out the better.

Mick Winters, trainer of Chatham Street Lad

He has thrived since he came over and he’s coming better into this race than he did when he won here in December. Envoi Allen will be hard to beat, but our horse is very comfy and he’ll love the ground.

Gavin Cromwell, trainer of Darver Star

Envoi Allen looks almost unbeatable but the ground is going to be very much in our favour and I’m looking forward to stepping Darver Star up in trip. You can put a line through his last run as the ground was too soft for him and my horses weren’t firing at the time. His run before that was a good solid effort. I’m confident we have him in good nick.

Dan Skelton, trainer of Shan Blue

I’m looking forward to getting him on some better ground. I’ve been very happy with his preparation and he carries some high-class form through from the winter. We’re very positive and happy. Envoi Allen is a superstar who is going to be hard to be beat, but hopefully we can get into a nice rhythm.

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle:

Denise Foster, trainer of The Bosses Oscar

He ran really well in the Martin Pipe last year and this trip on nicer ground is exactly what he wants. The concern is that he’s got plenty of weight, but Jordan’s [Gainford] 7lb claim is a big plus.

Harry Fry, trainer of Unowhatimeanharry

This normally goes to a younger, unexposed, improving sort but he’ll run his race and as long as he comes back in one piece that’s the main thing.

David Pipe, trainer of Brinkley

He’s been progressive and he won well the last day. He’d have preferred it a bit softer but hopefully he can run a nice race.

Willie Mullins, trainer of Dandy Mag

It’s a very competitive handicap but he has his chance over this trip and on the ground.

Joe Tizzard, assistant to Colin, trainer of Copperhead

He’ll come on for his last run and this is another stepping stone to getting him back on track. The drying ground wouldn’t be in his favour but he’s a good horse on his day.

Warren Greatrex, trainer of Keeper Hill

He’s off a good weight and will appreciate the better ground. He’s a consistent horse and I’m sure he’ll put up a good show.

Dan Skelton, trainer of Spiritofthegames

He enjoyed dropping back over hurdles last time and he’s good around Cheltenham. He’s been a bridesmaid so many times that it’d just be great to get his head in front.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of Storm Arising and Southfield Harvest

Southfield Harvest might prefer it softer. He keeps running well and is in there with a chance. Storm Arising has been progressive and we purposely didn’t run him after his win in January to keep him right for this.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Champagne Platinum

He’s been very good in two runs this season and this looks the obvious target for him. The ground will be fine.

Philip Hobbs, trainer of No Comment and Everglow

No Comment fell last time but he seems to be fine after that. Hopefully, he has an each-way chance. Everglow is a progressive novice, so hopefully has a chance.

Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Anything Will Do

I’m hoping he’ll run. This is a step up in class for him but I’m hoping he can run respectably.

Paul Nolan, trainer of Mrs Milner

She has a chance but she’ll need to improve to be winning. Hopefully, she has an each-way squeak.

Tom George, trainer of Come On Teddy

This has been his target for a while now. It was a good run from him at Warwick last time when the race wasn’t run to suit him at all. Everything should be more in his favour this time.

Lucy Wadham, trainer of Potters Hedger

He’s earned his place but has crept up the handicap a bit. He’s not run at Cheltenham, so we’ll see how he takes to it.

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Milliner

He’s got in and I’m very happy about that. He’s got a lovely light weight and I could see him going well.

Ryanair Chase:

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Chris’s Dream

We know he goes very well fresh, so that’s why we decided to keep him for this. He looks well and seems to be in very good form.

Jeremy Scott, trainer of Dashel Drasher

I wouldn’t want the ground any drier. If it is still good to soft I’ll take the horse up there and walk the track but if it goes good to soft, good in places we’d probably be able to make a decision before then.

Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Fakir D’oudairies

We think the trip will suit him well and he’s in very good form.

Kim Bailey, trainer of Imperial Aura

I think it’s the most competitive race of the entire meeting but I wouldn’t swap him. He’s in good shape and this has been the plan all season.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Mister Fisher

I couldn’t be happier with him and his schooling has gone really well. He and Altior have been doing all their work together – luckily he has made it.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of Real Steel

He’s been a bit hard to get right this season. It transpired that he bled after Kempton but he was travelling well. Hopefully on spring ground we’ll see a better horse.

Harry Whittington, trainer of Saint Calvados

He wasn’t beaten far last year, which is a strong form line, and I feel he’s in as good a place as he was 12 months ago. Hopefully he can run his race and that will be good enough.

Denise Foster, trainer of Samcro

This is his time of year and I think everyone knows that. We’re all very excited to see him back at the track where he has already produced two terrific performances.

Reporting by Lewis Porteous

Stayers’ Hurdle:

Willie Mullins, trainer of Bacardys

He always runs well here and will benefit from the drying conditions. He has an each-way chance.

Noel Meade, trainer of Beacon Edge

We think he has a good chance. He’s travelled over well and seems in good form. He had a colic during the winter and that knocked the stuffing out of him but he was very good at Navan and seems to have come on for that again.

Gavin Cromwell, trainer of Flooring Porter

He has form with Sire Du Berlais and the best of the Irish. He’s in good shape and is coming here fresh. It’s a little bit of unknown with the track and we’d prefer if he had a true running rail the whole way as he’s just not completely straightforward.

Harry Fry, trainer of If The Cap Fits

We’re reverting to hurdles as he hasn’t hit the same level of form over fences. He seems in good form and I hope he’s got an each-way squeak.

Neil King, trainer of Lil Rockerfeller

He’s in really good form – he’s only had two runs this season which is a big plus because he’s fresh and not been drained on heavy ground. The more the ground dries the better and we’ve put the headgear on as he’ll need to be sharp.

Joe Tizzard, assistant to Colin Tizzard, trainer of Reserve Tank

He had a nice comeback run and he loves a bit of good ground. Whether Cheltenham is his track I don’t know, he might prefer Aintree. He’s improved for his last race and if we can nick a bit of prize-money we’ll be chuffed.

Jedd O’Keeffe, trainer of Sam Spinner

We’ve put blinkers on to help with his confidence. His work and his schooling have been great. He’s still very capable and it’s not impossible he could get placed again.

Kim Bailey, trainer of Vinndication & Younevercall

I’m very happy with Vinndication, he’s in a good place and he’s unbeaten over hurdles. All Younevercall’s form is right-handed and I just hope we don’t do a Goshen. His form is good but the question is whether he can go left-handed.

Paddy Power Plate:

Jack Channon, assistant to his father Mick, trainer of Mister Whitaker

He was third in the race last year and is very much a spring horse. He loves running here and we’re hoping for another big run.

Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Assemble, Fils D’Oudairies and A Wave Of The Sea

A Wave Of The Sea won well at Leopardstown last time and has come out of it nicely. Assemble needs to sort out his jumping. He has schooled very well of late, though. The drop in class will suit him so hopefully he can run a respectable race. Fils D’Oudairies has been running well all year. Experience is the question mark hanging over him, but we’re still hoping for a good run.

Dan Skelton, trainer of Oldgrangewood

He always runs well at Cheltenham, but he’s had no look this year and nothing has gone his way. Hopefully that will change and I’m really happy with his form.

Denise Foster, trainer of Farclas

He’s come back to form really well this season. He’s put together a series of very good runs in quality handicaps and a repeat of those entitles him to be thereabouts.

Venetia Williams, trainer of Laskalin

He’s a horse we bought quite recently and this will be his first start in David and Carol Shaw’s colours. I don’t think drying conditions are all that helpful.

Jeremy Scott, trainer of Champagne Court

He’s slipped down the handicap a little bit and does seem to run quite well at Cheltenham. It would be a bit of a leap of faith on what he’s done this season but this is his time of the year and and I think he will love the ground. He’s got an each-way chance. 

Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle:

Willie Mullins, trainer of Gauloise, Glens Of Antrim, Hook Up and Pont Aval

Paul [Townend] has sided with Gauloise as he thinks she may just have run a bit flat last time. However, at these weights she would look to have a tough task to reverse form with the two that finished ahead of her that day. Glens Of Antrim has pleased us at home and could run a big race. The drying ground will benefit Hook Up more than any of our horses this week. If Danny [Mullins] can produce her late it could pay dividends. Pont Aval won well last time and is in very good order. She’s improving but needs softer ground to be seen at her best.

Jonathan Sweeney, trainer of Roseys Hollow

It’s great to be going over there with a chance and she’s entitled to be in the mix on form. Hopefully there’s more to come from her.

Shark Hanlon, trainer of Skyace

Jody McGarvey rode her on Wednesday morning and she bounced the whole way back to her stable. She’s in mighty form. I can’t have her any better than she is and with a bit of luck she’ll be involved.

Trainer John “Shark” Hanlon
Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Magic Daze and Telmesomethinggirl

Magic Daze is an unknown quantity. She’s a forward-going mare who will improve for better ground. Telmesomethinggirl ran well in quite a hot handicap at Leopardstown last time and should run well in this.

Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Mighty Blue

She’s in good shape. A little bit of spring ground will suit her compared to the heavy ground she’s been running in all winter.

Peter Fahey, trainer of Royal Kahala

I’m thrilled with how she travelled over. I couldn’t be happier. The ground is drying out a bit but it should be fine. A repeat of her second-last run would give her a big chance.

Alan King, trainer of The Glancing Queen

I hope and think she’ll run extremely well. Her preparation has gone smoothly and she won’t mind the slower ground.

Kim Muir:

Tom George, trainer of Double Shuffle

He ran well at Kempton last time and he seems really well since. The Grand National is his aim and we thought we’d go for this as a good target on the way there.

Denise Foster, trainer of Mount Ida

She’s a lovely, honest mare. It looks like this trip is what she wants and we’ve been looking forward to running her.

Kerry Lee, trainer of Storm Control

He has excelled at Cheltenham this season and he should really love the ground. We decided this race would suit him better than the Ultima.

Philip Hobbs, trainer of Deise Aba and Musical Slave

Deise Aba ran very well in the race last year and was back to form when he won well at Sandown last time. He seems in good form so must have a chance. Musical Slave maybe slightly lost his confidence after unseating Richard Johnson at Doncaster and ran okay at Ascot, so hopefully he will build on that.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of Shantou Flyer

He likes it around there. He needed his two races so hopefully the fitness will negate the 5lb rise he got for his run at Wincanton.

Jack Channon, assistant to Mick, trainer of Hold The Note

He’s in great form and had a wind op before his last run, which has had a positive effect. We feel he’s come on for that run and we hope the trip will suit. We think he’s got a nice chance.

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Plan Of Attack

He’s in great form and we’ve freshened him up for this. The better the ground, the better he will be. We’re putting blinkers on him for the first time in the hope they will sharpen him up a bit.

Warren Greatrex, trainer of Bob Mahler

It’s been frustrating this season. He pulled up on his first run and the saddle slipped on the next two. He ran a cracker last time and he loves better ground. He was third off 5lb more last season so I’d be surprised if he didn’t run a big race.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Morning Vicar

I think he’s got a good chance. He was running really well in the autumn, loves good ground and is particularly well at the moment so we thought we’d give it a go.


Quotes courtesy of Racing Post

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