Final Cheltenham Festival Entries Revealed
Entries for all 27 races at The Cheltenham Festival are now in the public domain following the unveiling of those for the Grade Two OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, the Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper and the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase today.
Our Girl Salley, a Grade Three winner over hurdles at Leopardstown in December, goes for the £70,000 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) over two and half miles on the opening day, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 13.
Her trainer Prunella Dobbs, based in Co Wicklow, said: “Our Girl Salley is going to run in OLBG Mares’ Hurdle – she has been in very good form.”
Our Girl Salley was last seen finishing third at Ascot on January 21, when she tackled three miles for the first time, but her trainer believes the seven-year-old did not get the rub of the green during that race.
Dobbs continued: “I don’t think the trip was a problem – she did stay the three miles. I think it was more how the race was run that was against us. There was no pace because the horse that would have probably made the running was taken out in the morning - it became a sprint and that didn’t really suit us.
“I think a strongly run two and a half miles at Cheltenham will suit and the better ground at Cheltenham will not bother her. The race will be very testing with Quevega in the field and it will be a big ask to beat her, but I hope we will have a good outing.”
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper over two miles and half a furlong on the second day of The Festival, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 14, has attracted 39 entries, including 10 from Ireland.
Mullins, who has won this race on six occasions, has four entries including Champagne Fever, who was an impressive winner at Fairyhouse on January 22. Brian Hamilton’s well-touted Moscow Mannon could bid for a fourth successive victory, while Clonbanan Lad may put his unbeaten record on the line.
Notable British trained entries include the John Ferguson-trained duo of Population and New Year’s Eve, who have both won their two starts in good fashion. Colin Tizzard, successful in 2010 with Cue Card, could saddle Royal Guardsman, while Nigel Twiston-Davies has Cheltenham scorer The New One engaged.
The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase over three miles and two and a half furlongs on the final day of The Festival, Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 16, has received 44 entries.
Notable horses engaged include the Queen’s Barbers Shop, successful in two hunter chases this season, and Chapoturgeon, who won the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival in 2009 when trained by Paul Nicholls. John Smith’s Grand National entry Roulez Cool, owned and trained by the chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse Robert Waley-Cohen, went off favourite for this contest in 2010 only to be brought down four fences from home and could be atone for that misfortune this year, while Cloudy Lane is a possible runner for Donald McCain. The Irish challenge is headed by Salsify, winner of a competitive handicap at Leopardstown on February 12.
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