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Cheltenham News – 3rd March

by Aidan Elder | March 3, 2011

Cheltenham News
The horsey set brought a touch of class to dogging

>>> To some the Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the racing season and to others it’s a bit of a leisurely day out en route to a bigger mission. And we’re not talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses who are fans of the turf. Tony McCoy Grand National jinx buster, Don’t Push It is being aimed at the Pertemps Hurdle, but only as a warm-up for the defence of his Grand National title a few weeks later at Aintree. “He’s in on Saturday, but he’ll more than likely wait for the Pertemps at Cheltenham,” said Frank Berry, the guy in charge of managing the racing engagements of the sizeable JP McManus squad.

>>> Another horse with fingers in both the Cheltenham and the Grand National pies is Midnight Chase. He’s pencilled in to prepare for the Aintree showpiece by not winning the Gold Cup. That’s the plan summarised quite concisely, but trainer Neil Mulholland tried to sound a bit cooler and non-committal when he explained “No decisions will be made until we see how he is after Cheltenham.”

>>> There’s a short interview with trainer Phillip Hobbs in the Independent this morning. He’s probably going to have several horses taking their chances at the Festival and I’m sure the interview is very interesting, but all I took from it is I won’t be going to see Fair Game staring Naomi Watts. The Independent

>>> Sounding a little defeatist, David Pipe has expressed concern about his chances of winning the Cheltenham Festival race named in honour of his father. He’s likely to saddle Buena Vista, Battle Group and Shoegazer for the word count friendly Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle, but he’s not confident about his chances of actually claiming victory. “It might just be one race I’ll never win,” he said with the cheery optimism of a death row in-mate. British Horse Racing Authority

>>> Jason Maguire is to appeal the 7 day ban that will rule him out of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and his ride on Peddlers Cross in the Champion Hurdle. That’s basically the entire story, but the Meath Chronicle managed to string it out for substantially longer. Meath Chronicle

Nicky Henderson says he’s very happy with how Zaynar is shaping up ahead of tilt at the World Hurdle. Last year’s third home in the Champion Hurdle went under the surgeons knife in November and hasn’t run since, but Henderson reckons his charge is in good shape and the procedure took 5 horse years off him. “He had a racecourse gallop yesterday, just a spin around in the country, and he’s taken it well. It’s all systems go for the World Hurdle.” London Evening Standard

>>> Simon Claisse, clerk of the course at Cheltenham, has issue his daily ‘everything’s grand’ bulletin from Prestbury Park – and guess what – everything’s grand. “I wish things looked a little better out there but we are in better shape than last year,” Claisse said in our obligatory padding-it-out-quote. Racing Post


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