We might be less than three weeks away from the start of the Cheltenham, but there may still be one or two Festival clues about this weekend.
Of the exciting Flat recruit, King said: “We need to get some match practice in if he is going to be going to Cheltenham and it was always the plan to come here as I didn’t want to go to Cheltenham with just the one run over hurdles.”
Meanwhile, over at Fairyhouse, Jason The Militant could throw his name into the Champion Hurdle ring with victory in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The seven-year-old has finished third in Grade 1 and Grade 2 contests this season and must give 9lbs to all of his rivals, including the consistent Petit Mouchoir.
No Cheltenham switch for Eileendover
Trainer Pam Sly has not been tempted to switch plans with star filly Eileendover, with the Champion Bumper definitely not on the agenda.
The four-year-old is unbeaten in three bumper runs and the form of the most recent, at Market Rasen, was franked when the third-placed horse, Grangee, won a Grade 2 at Leopardstown earlier this month.
Eileendover remains as short as 6/1 third-favourite in Betfair’s NRNB market but Sly says the target remains the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
“I didn’t make the entry for Cheltenham,” she said. “I’ve been saying since Market Rasen that Aintree is the target - she won’t be going to Cheltenham.”
Metier on course for Supreme
Tolworth Hurdle winner Metier will have the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as his Cheltenham target, trainer Harry Fry has confirmed.
The five-year-old was taken out of the rearranged Betfair Hurdle - a race he was ante post favourite for - because of its proximity to the Festival opener, which always looked the more likely target over the two-and-a-half mile Ballymore.
“We’re 99% sure that Metier will run in the Supreme,” Fry told Racing TV. “His form has been over two miles, he’s off the Flat and two miles and five furlongs is a big step up in trip.
“It will be interesting to see what the ground is like with these drying conditions, but you’re not going to get any quicker than good to soft on the opening day of the meeting, so I think we’re pretty set that the Supreme is the right race for him.”
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