The best of the quotes from Cheltenham Festival press days
PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 1:30PM 7 MAR 2017
IN EXACTLY a week the tape will go up for the Supreme and the 2017 festival will get underway. With the last of the pre-Cheltenham media days out of the way we recap what was said and pick out the key quotes you may have missed.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Ballyandy
We’ve decided we’ll go for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He cantered to the last in the Betfair and quickened away nicely. We’ve always thought a lot of him and can’t understand why he didn’t do better in his first three races. We checked his wind, we checked everything and nothing was amiss. Maybe with time he’s got better and better. He has plenty of speed. He won there this time last year but I’m really looking forward to it and I hope we can take our revenge on Moon Racer.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Footpad
Petit Mouchoir wasn’t going away from him in the Irish Champion Hurdle and we’d be hopeful that wherever he finishes at Cheltenham our fella won’t be that far away from him. The track should suit him.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Foxtail Hill
He’s first or second favourite for the Close Brothers. He was very impressive at Cheltenham last time. He managed to stay inside the rating band 0-140. It’s nearly a lower-class JLT because they’ll be within a three or four pound weight range, so basically they’re all running off level weights. He was good last time so I’m very hopeful. I’d say he’s our best chance.
Colin Tizzard, trainer of Morello Royale
She looked as though she might have won last week but came up against a horse that had won its last seven. She beat the rest fine. It was her best run and first time against geldings. We’ll probably bypass the mares’ race and go for the Coral Cup. It might be the right race.
Foxtail Hill (right) described by Nigel Twiston-Davies as his best chance
Colin Tizzard, trainer of Fox Norton
He’s a beautiful horse. When we first got him he jumped into himself and it was touch and go for a while as we didn’t know if he’d damaged his tendon. He had a month in the stable. He had a near impossible task after having a couple of months off against Altior trying to give him 5lb. He didn’t jump very well and came back a bit stiff behind. He’s a good horse and fine now. Neil Mulholland thought his best was on spring ground over a flat out two miles, but I was thinking he was more of a Ryanair horse. It took him the whole of the Arkle trip to get to third, so we’re leaving that option open a little. Douvan does look a machine. It’s going to be left to the five-day stage.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Domperignon Du Lys and Divin Bere
They have an entry in the Triumph but they’re going to be my two for the Fred Winter. It’s a tough race to win and perhaps they’re exposed, but I like them both and can’t split them.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Whisper
I’ve been pleased with his two runs over fences this season, which have hopefully given him some confidence. I’m pretty sure he’ll go for the JLT, but the RSA does make you look. He can move up to three miles and is the one who has got me thinking most about which race. He gets on very well with Davy Russell.
Gordon Elliot, trainer of Jury Duty
We’ve had the Pertemps in mind for him for some time now. Unfortunately he gave himself a bit of a cut when he won a handicap hurdle at Navan in November. I was running out of time to get him qualified for Cheltenham but he ran a nice solid race at Chepstow last week and that was actually the last qualifier for the race. We’re looking forward to him.
Gordon Elliott: had the Pertemps in mind for Jury Duty for some time
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Coillte Lass
You can’t do much more than she has. She won three novice hurdles on the bounce, including a Listed race at Taunton, then finished seven lengths behind Vroum Vroum Mag. She’s going for the mares’ novices’ hurdle.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Mega Fortune
He would be the pick of ours in the Triumph at the moment. He does like to get his toe in but I wouldn’t mind running him on anything as long as it wasn’t rattling quick ground. We purposely left the headgear off him until a big day at Leopardstown and he’ll definitely wear cheekpieces at Cheltenham and we’ll ride him positively.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Penhill
Won very well at Christmas when we upped him to three miles at Limerick. I think that trip suits him because of the way he jumps, and if the ground was good his best form puts him in there with a chance.
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Brio Conti
He’s off a mark of 134 and I hope he gets in the Martin Pipe, although he might struggle to do so. He wants good ground and would have a good chance.