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Cheltenham News – 8th March

by Aidan Elder | March 8, 2011

Cheltenham News
What happened next? Em .. does Hurricane Fly pass him … again?

Cheltenham News 8th March
>>> Solwhit probably wasn’t going to win the World Hurdle, but now he definitely won’t as he has been ruled out of the Festival after a sub-par gallop on Monday. Making it sound more like an X Factor audition than preparation for Cheltenham, his trainer, Charles Byrnes reported “we worked him this morning, but he didn’t show any sparkle”. He’s likely to miss the remainder of the jumps season before resuming ‘getting beaten by Hurricane Fly’ duty next term. Racing Post

>>> Because we can never have enough World Hurdle, news, David Pipe says he’s happy with how Grands Crus is shaping up for his attempts to dethrone Big Bucks. “I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Pipe, not doing much for the oul word count. The progressive 6 year old has really stepped it up in recent months to look like a genuinely top class animal and he’s 5/2 to win the staying hurdlers championship race. Setanta Sports

>>> Up and coming trainer and also tenant of the Pipe family (what seamless linking), Neil Mulholland has been singing the praises of Gold Cup hopeful, Midnight Chase. He won a handicap chase at Cheltenham in December and even though you might already think that’s impressive, you’re not appreciating how impressive – according to Mulholland. “He’d cut into himself, pulled a shoe off, and was more or less galloping in bare feet. The other horse had got away on a roll, with 17lb less on his back,” he explained, not adding “He’s ammmmaaaaaazzzzzziiiinnnnnnggggggg”. The Independent

>>> In the spirit of more seamless links, Emma Lavelle has a blog and this is a blog – although she uses hers to be ‘informative’ and ‘engaging’, which differs slightly from the ‘unfounded rumours’ and ‘cheap insults’ approach we use. All her horses are in great form in her completely unbiased view which would be a good time to big her up in the Cheltenham Top Trainer market, but she’s not listed, so back someone else. Racing Post

>>> The internet isn’t working in the Paddy Power offices at the moment, so here’s your quick-fire round-up of all the things the Racing Post put in their print edition, but don’t put online to make you buy the paper. Pietro Innocenzi has tipped up Barry Geraghty to be Top Fesitval Jockey. Donn McClean has used his weekly column to pick out 5 names he’s tipping to have a big influence on the Festival. Jockey Paul Townend, trainers John ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Gordon Elliot, the Moyglare Stud and prolific horsey daddy, Montjeu are the names mentioned. Pricewise has thrown is knowledgeable eye over the Ryanair Chase and picked out Kalahari King and Weird Al as his recommendations. That should have saved you both time and €2.60 (£1.80 in the UK). Racing Post (Make You Pay For It Edition)

PS – where are they getting that exchange rate? At the moment, £1 will get you about €1.16, but at the Bank Of The Post, that equates to an exchange rate of £1 getting you €1.44.

>>> In our daily check on the going at Cheltenham, we’re reporting that it’s grassy, with a hint of muck at Prestbury Park. In Clerk of the Course language, that translates to good to soft and Simon Claisse says with rain forecast, he won’t be watering ahead of the Festival. Racing Post

>>> And in an attempt to help anyone travelling to Cheltenham seem less like a thoughtless tourist by providing a snippet of local information for you to wheel out at the appropriate moment, MP for the area, Martin Horwood has launched a campaign to save local publicans from going to the wall. There’s a legitimate reason for the campaign, but all we’re taking from it is it’s your civic duty to get absolutely plastered next week. ThisIsGloucestershire.co.uk

[Legal disclaimer – ‘getting absolutely plastered next week’ does not represent the views of Paddy Power PLC]

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