MELISSA JONES: At Fishers Cross back on track

First published in Sport

REBECCA Curtis can sleep a little easier as the time ticks away to the Cheltenham Festival thanks to At Fishers Cross' storming run at the track last weekend.

The seven-year-old showed his old zest by narrowly going down by a short-head to outsider Knockara Beau in the Cleeve Hurdle, with Big Buck's in third.

While not completely foot perfect, the Welsh trainer felt encouraged At Fishers Cross was finishing off his race well.

"It will have been a good confidence boost to him and he probably needed that," Curtis told the Argus afterwards.

"He's back to where he was last year hopefully."

The run was the only placing the trainer has achieved in the past two weeks, with several finishing last or not completing their races.

She admits they have been out of form, but will hopefully come right with the four big days in March on the horizon: "The yard has not been firing. But At Fishers Cross has been a lot better in himself recently and he will improve when the ground isn't as soft," Curtis added.

At Fishers Cross is now a 7-1 shot for Festival glory.

Curtis reported Teaforthree to have needed his Coral Welsh Grand National run and he is still on track for a repeat run in the big one at Aintree this April.

While Curtis has her form woes, the weather has been playing havoc with the fixture list up and down the country.

Ffos Las' biggest meeting of the year, featuring the Welsh Champion Hurdle and the return of Welsh National winner Mountainous, will have to beat the rain to get the go-ahead.

Chepstow has been forced to abandon its first three meetings of the year, where more than 15 inches of rain have fallen since December 12, approximately a third of the annual average.

If Ffos Las does get the go-ahead, I like the look of Horatio Hornblower in the opener (1.30). His trainer Nick Williams can get them ready first time up (Le Rocher an example) and the market leaders have been disappointing on their runs this year.

Regal D'estruval (Sandown 4.10) is on a winnable race if back on song, while there are plenty of characters in the West Wales National (Ffos Las 2.40.) Mountainous does have a bit too much weight for my liking; I give Ringa Bay a good each-way chance.

SELECTIONS: Ffos Las 1.30 Horatio Hornblower, 2.40 Ringa Bay (e/w), Sandown 4.10 Regal D’estruval

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