Bliss Heads 16 Acceptors for Ladbrokes World Hurdle - 12 Go Forward for Ryanair Chase 06/03/09
Kasbah Bliss, who only found the mighty Inglis Drever a length too good in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle, heads the 16 acceptors at the six-day confirmation stage for this year’s renewal of the £260,000 contest (3.20pm), the feature race on day three of The Festival, Thursday, March 12, 2009.
Trained by Francois Doumen in France, Kasbah Bliss was a hugely impressive winner on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock last month but is sure to face some stiff opposition from the likes of Big Buck’s, victorious in the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January and Punchestowns, who finished runner-up to Big Buck’s on Festival Trials Day having previously won the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December. Others in the mix include Blazing Bailey, who has been fourth and third in the last two renewals of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, Fair Along, who was third in the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle and one of the toughest horses in training, Lough Derg. One of the most interesting horses among today’s acceptors is Mighty Man, off the track for almost two years but only beaten three quarters of a length by Inglis Drever in the 2007 Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Thursday also features the £220,000 Ryanair Chase (2.40pm), which has attracted a dozen confirmations. Last year’s winner Our Vic is a possible starter once again along with this season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander and the 2008 The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy victor Tidal Bay, who could either contest the Ryanair Chase or the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase 24 hours earlier. Voy Por Ustedes won The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy in 2006 and the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2007 and could bid for a third victory at The Festival while another possible starter is the 2006 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase scorer Newmill, one of four Irish-trained contenders.
Action gets underway on Thursday with the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.30pm), for which there are 54 acceptors (maximum field 20) while there is competitive handicap action later in the afternoon with the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.05pm, 53 acceptors, 24 runners maximum), the Freddie Williams Festival Plate Handicap Chase (4.00pm, 46 acceptors, 24 runners maximum) and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase for amateur riders (4.40pm, 69 acceptors, 24 runners maximum).
The going at Cheltenham is currently:
Old Course (used on Tuesday & Wednesday) - Good to Soft
TICKETSTickets will be available for purchase on the gate on the first three days of The Festival - Tuesday, March 10
Badges for both the Club and Tattersalls enclosures are still available for Friday, March 13. However, these will not be available for purchase on the day and should be booked in advance via www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003.
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