Zabana: will not be running at the Cheltenham Festival
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Jennings 1:24PM 11 MAR 2017
ZABANA’S luckless relationship with the Cheltenham Festival continued on Saturday morning when trainer Andy Lynch revealed the eight-year-old would not be able to take his place in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday after scoping dirty.
The Chris Johns-owned gelding was a victim of a farcical start in the JLT Novices’ Chase last season when he unshipped Davy Russell as the tapes were raised but went on to make amends by winning the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown that spring.
Zabana had entries in the Gold Cup and the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham but Lynch committed his stable star to the Thursday contest during the week.
However, and understandably frustrated Lynch revealed that his charge won’t be able to make the festival trip after all.
He said: “Unfortunately Zabana scoped dirty this [Saturday] morning, and with the Ryanair on Thursday, there’s no way we could risk it with him.
“It’s such a pity because I genuinely believed that he was in the form of his life. That’s racing though and you have to take these things on the chin.
“The aim now will be to get him ready for Punchestown. He won the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase there last season so let’s hope he can end this season on a high again.”