Cheltenham Day 4 & Down Royal

It was a brilliant day for the team at Cheltenham yesterday with Sire Du Berlais scoring in the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle.

We head back to Cheltenham today for the final day of The Festival and also to Down Royal.

Our first runners for the day in Cheltenham are Glan and Pied Piper in the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle. GLAN has some useful form to her name and sneaks into the race with a nice low weight of 10st7lb. The ground conditions shouldn’t be an issue to her and she has proven that she stays on well so it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see her potentially involved in the closing stages. Mark Walsh takes the ride. PIED PIPER has some excellent graded form to his name and was third in the Triumph hurdle here last year. This will be his first handicap appearance and it might be a tough ask off a mark of 154 but he is a classy horse. Davy Russell takes the ride.

We saddle three runners in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle. FAVORI DE CHAMPDOU has won all three starts this season after a year off the track including a Grade 2 contest at Limerick last time out where he beat Letsbeclearaboutit. He has shown all of the right attributes to be a leading contender here today and Jordan Gainford takes the ride. SEARCH FOR GLORY is a very lightly raced individual who only has 2 hurdle runs under his belt. He ran well at Leopardstown at Christmas to finish 3rd in a maiden hurdle on his hurdling debut but took a real step forward when finishing a close 3rd in a 3mile Graded contest at Clonmel next time out. There looks to be plenty of improvement to come from him and Davy Russell takes the ride. THREE CARD BRAG has been a very consistent horse for connections. He was just beaten by a neck in a Grade 2 contest over 2m4f at Naas before Christmas and won last time out at Fairyhouse by an impressive 12 lengths. This race has been his target as he is a relentless galloper and should thrive with the step up in trip. Adrian Heskin takes the ride.

In the feature race of the day, the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, we send out CONFLATED. He has proven himself over 3 miles with victories in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup and Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown but this will be his first start over a longer trip. He is in the form of his life at the moment and we are hopeful of a big run from him. Davy Russell will be the main man on board.

In the St. James Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters Chase we run THE STORYTELLER. A former Cheltenham festival winner and runner up, he has come back from a year off to win 3 point to points this season. He wears first time cheekpieces today and can’t be ruled out with Jamie Codd in the saddle.

RIVIERE D’ETEL runs in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase. She was a very smart novice chaser last season but didn’t show the same spark when returning to the track this season. She last ran in November then took some time off. She is in excellent form at home looks back to her best. She could be a big player here today with Davy Russell taking the ride.

Our last runners of the 2023 festival are in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle. AU FLEURON finished 7th in this contest 12 months ago. He runs off a 2lb lower mark this year and looks to have improved with the addition of first time cheekpieces last time out. Kieran Buckley takes the ride. IMAGINE is one of two in the race for Caldwell Construction. He has excellent form to his name, never finishing out of the first two, and is bred to excel over this trip. He looks to be one of the main contenders here today and will be the ride of Ben Harvey who has already tasted success at the festival this week. FIRM FOOTINGS runs in the second colours for Caldwell Construction. He has never finished out of the top 3 in his career and has run some solid races over 2m4f. He opened up his account over hurdles last time out at Navan and is another who should relish the trip. Shane Fitzgerald takes the ride. COOL SURVIVOR won on his debut over hurdles in a 2m4f contest at Punchestown then went on to score over 3 miles at Cork in a listed event next time out. He could be a major player today provided the step back in trip doesn’t inconvenience him. Sam Ewing rides. FELIX DESJY bounced back to form last time out when finishing second in a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Navan under Corey McGivern. He has some useful form to his name at the Cheltenham festival and could run a big race here today with Corey McGivern retaining the ride. IN FROM THE COLD has some useful form to his name on the flat and over hurdles. He failed to spark on his debut for us and his new connections but did finish 3rd when making the switch back to flat at Dundalk last time out. This will be the first time he steps up in trip to 2m4f. Danny Gilligan rides.

In Down Royal we have 6 runners.

STUZZIKINI stands a good chance of breaking his duck in the opening race, the Maiden Hurdle. He has finished runner up on his last two starts and looks good enough to go one better here today. He is running for new connections so we would like to wish them the very best of luck with their first runner. Denis O’Regan takes the ride.

MRS PAISLEY runs in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle. She drops down in trip to 2m4f after not firing in a 2m6f contest the last day. James Robottom rides and claims a useful 4lb.

In the Novice Handicap Hurdle we saddle CARDAMON HILL. He stayed on strongly to win his maiden hurdle by 9 lengths in heavy ground at Tramore but didn’t quite fire next time out in a 2m7f novice hurdle at Thurles. He could bounce back to form here today with the step back in trip and Denis O’Regan will be in the saddle.

In the Bluegrass Stamm 30 Chase Pencilfulloflead is a non runner now so we just send out FARCLAS. He hasn’t been seen on the track since November but the former Triumph hurdle winner has proven himself as a useful staying chaser and could be a solid contender today. Harry Swan rides and claims 5lb.

THE GREEK was a wide margin winner at Perth earlier in the season but just failed to show any enthusiasm last time out when pulling up back in November. He’s back fresh and well after a short winter break and should appreciate the step up in distance. Denis O’Regan rides.

Our final runner in Down Royal is SILVER LARK in the mares bumper. She finished 2nd on her racecourse debut and has come on well for that run. Its a small field of 6 as Charity Barnum is now a non runner and she has the potential to go one better than last time out. Harry Swan takes the ride on her today.

We’d like to wish all of our runners, riders and connections the very best of luck today and also a very happy St Patrick’s Day!!