Cheltenham Chatter – Joe Tilts Towards The Triumph

O’Brien Hoping To Land The Triumph

Landofhopeandglory has multiple Cheltenham entries, but trainer Joseph O’Brien has his cross-hairs trained firmly upon the JCB Triumph Hurdle. The horse raced at Fairyhouse on Saturday and finished 3rd, behind Dinaria Des Obeaux.

“Landofhopeandglory ran well as he hadn’t run for two months and it was heavy ground. I was happy with him. More than likely he will go for the Triumph rather than the Fred Winter. He seems OK and hopefully he will be OK during the week.”.

He also refused to rule out the possibility of West Coast Time running in the Champion Bumper.

“West Coast Time is a possible for the Bumper at Cheltenham, but he wouldn’t want the ground too quick. He won well in soft ground at Cork.”.

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Geraghty Faces Up To Grim Reality

Following his bad fall on Charli Parks, at Kempton on Saturday, a brave Barry Geraghty had initially expressed his hopes that he could recover in time for the Festival. Doctors have told him to forget about this though, as his injuries were much worse than he thought.

“I’ve a collapsed lung and six broken ribs on my right side,” he told At The Races. “I’m obviously devastated as there were so many good horses to look forward to; JP McManus’s team look in particularly good shape this year.

“Last night was pretty rough. I’ve broken ribs individually before but never had six go all at the same time. I expect to be back for Aintree.”

Moore’s All The Merrier, Following Fontwell Rout

The Stayers’ Hurdle is where Camping Ground could be pitching his tent, following a comfortable victory at Fontwell. He beat Le Rocher by 29 lengths and impressed Gary Moore, but the trainer admitted that he is yet to be fully convinced of the 7-year-old’s stamina.

“His work had been good. When we have worked him I’ve been very careful to mind him. If he turned up as he did in the Relkeel when he won we knew he would win today, and he turned up similar to that day.

“We’ve played around with him. We’ve done everything we could and Robert Walford would have done exactly the same thing. Maybe it is just a change of scenery that has done him good. We’ve treated him like a good horse. A lot of effort has gone into him, believe me, from the staff at home.

“I know the owner is pretty keen to go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. I think two and a half is his trip. He has got a very high cruising speed and he galloped them into the ground. I think three miles would be pushing him in my opinion.”

Gordon’s Tombstone Gunning For The Champion Hurdle

With the Champion Hurdle hopes of many top horses heading to Boot Hill, over the last few weeks, a new sheriff may be arriving in town.

Tombstone has been supplemented by Gordon Elliott and his defeat of Jezki in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle indicated that he should be seen as a serious contender.

“It looks an open race this year so we have decided to supplement Tombstone for the Champion Hurdle.”, Elliott stated.

“He has come out of the Red Mills race in great shape so we are happy to take our chances. Obviously he needs to improve, but he hasn’t got many miles on the clock and the turnaround in form with Jezki was very encouraging.”

George’s Inmate To Do National Service

One horse that doesn’t look like featuring at this year’s Festival is Double Shuffle. He finished runner-up, in the feature race at Kempton on Saturday, but trainer Tom George has been tempted by the handicapper to skip Cheltenham and point him towards Liverpool.

“I’m delighted with Double Shuffle,” said George. “He made an uncharacteristic mistake three out and lost a bit of momentum, but he stayed on well afterwards. He is an improving horse and has 10st 6lb for the National. He will miss Cheltenham to concentrate on the Grand National.”

George indicated that Double Shuffle could have Saint Are, who won impressively at Doncaster last week, for company

“It was a great run. It is coming into his time of year, as he loves the better ground. He was only beaten a head at Doncaster, under a big weight, which gets him back on track and spot on where we want to be.

“I did give him an entry in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival just to keep his options open – we needed to get a run into him before Aintree and just had to have a back-up in case something happened at Doncaster.

“Obviously, I need to have a word with his owner (David Fox), but Aintree is our priority. The ground just went against him in the Grand National last year. He is fine on good to soft, but once it gets softer than that (the going was soft in the 2016 Grand National), he does start to struggle.”.

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