CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL: Welsh trainers look to Sprinter Sacre for inspiration
AT 3.20 this afternoon, Welsh trainers will be rooted to the spot as the most athletic of figures lengthens his stride across two miles of turf.
Sprinter Sacre, the horse they would all love to train, will be within minutes of landing Cheltenham’s Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Those who took Coral’s even money offer will also be watching his every move, as he leaps every fence and puts his rivals to the sword.
At seven-years-old, the gelding has four years to catch up with his nearest market rival, Sizing Europe, in age, but he has looked the ultimate professional in all his chase starts.
Since the likes of Denman and Kauto Star, this is the one everybody wants to win and racing’s new star should shine brightly in front of his legions of fans, winning by at least ten lengths.
Welsh hopes for later in the week may be given a boost if The New One sails to victory in race two, as the progressive type finished just behind Rebecca Curtis’ At Fishers Cross at the course last time.
The Twiston-Davies hero has done little wrong this season and his young pilot thought he had gone to the front too soon when pipped by the Welsh warrior.
The Irish have pinned their hopes on Pont Alexandre, but the selection has enough pace to sit in behind the market leader and course form is always a plus.
Llancarfan handler Evan Williams is quite keen on Milo Man in the Champion Bumper, reporting he has “thrived” since his debut.
It’s difficult to separate the runners on form and it’s very much about who will produce the best performance on the day.
Saying that, I do like the look of Anthony Honeyball’s Regal Encore.
I interviewed the trainer following the unbeaten five-year-old’s victory at Chepstow in October and he spoke about his charge in glowing terms.
Chepstow winners often do well at Cheltenham as the courses are similar in nature.
It’s also of note that McCoy’s mount has moved five points in the betting in recent days, suggesting a big run is expected for his owner, big-money spender JP McManus.
Wales’ Kayf Moss is the only horse declared yet to win, so he’ll be hoping to dent some big reputations.
He’s trained near Bridgend by John Flint, who says the outsider will “relish” the soft ground.
The good-looking Kayf Tara bay will be ridden by John’s son Rhys, who briefly turned his back on life in the saddle last September.
Flint snr said this was after his weight became an issue, as he struggled to pick up rides on the better horses.
The trainer has up to 20 horses in for the season and is adept at turning round their fortunes.
One such example is the veteran Star Galaxy, currently enjoying time in a magnetic rug, which gives him a massage.
Tim Vaughan’s Our Island may struggle to get near the principals on his best form in race one, but he will be staying on when others have cried ‘enough’.