June 21, 2021

Tiger on track for Cross Country

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Tiger Roll remains on course to reclaim his cross-country crown in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

The dual Grand National winner lifted the prize in 2018 and 2019, but was comprehensively beaten by Easysland 12 months ago.

He has been out of form so far this season, but he is a four-time Festival winner and connections are hoping the 11-year-old can recapture his sparkle on familiar turf.

“Touch wood, it’s all systems go, hopefully. All is going well so far,” said Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud.

The owners also have Alpha Des Obeaux and Balko Des Flos among the 15 six-day confirmations.

“The plan is for all three to run,” O’Leary added.

Tiger Roll and Alpha Des Obeaux are in the care of Denise Foster while Gordon Elliott serves the suspension handed to him earlier this month. Henry de Bromhead trains Balko Des Flos.

Easysland, trained in France by David Cottin, has something to prove after finishing fourth to Kingswell Theatre over this course and distance in November on his only run since the Festival last year.

Kingswell Theatre renews rivalry, while Le Breuil and Potters Corner are among other favourites looking to take their chance.

The Willie Mullins-trained Monkfish is the pick of 14 six-day confirmations for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.

Last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle scorer has made a tremendous start to his career over fences. The seven-year-old has won all his three races, including two Grade Ones at Leopardstown.

Mullins has a second string in Asterion Forlonge.

Latest Exhibition, who has finished second to Monkfish three times, has been left in by his trainer Paul Nolan.

De Bromhead’s Eklat De Rire has looked to have plenty of stamina in winning both his starts over the bigger obstacles so far.

The main British hopefuls are the Paul Nicholls-trained Next Destination, who has other Cheltenham entries, Colin Tizzard’s The Big Breakaway and Sporting John for Philip Hobbs. Venetia Williams has kept Royale Pagaille in, but he appears more likely to run in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday.

Bob Olinger, from the De Bromhead stable, features among 19 acceptors for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. The six-year-old showed his potential when winning the Grade One Naas Novice Hurdle.

Mullins still has seven possibles, including Gaillard Du Mesnil, Appreciate It, who is favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day, and Ganapathi, while Joseph O’Brien has an interesting candidate in Keskonrisk.

Leading the home contingent is the Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame, Tom Lacey’s Adrimel and Nicky Martin’s Bear Ghylls.

Top-weight Thomas Darby, trained by Olly Murphy, is one of 55 horses confirmed for the Coral Cup for which the maximum field allowed is 26.

The horses at the forefront of the ante-post market – Grand Roi, Koshari, You Raised Me Up, Botox Has, Great White Shark and Monte Cristo – all stood their ground.

A maximum field of 20 can go to post for the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase for which 31 still remain.

The hopefuls include the O’Brien-trained trio of Entoucas, Embittered and Us And Them, Jonjo O’Neill’s Sky Pirate and Emmet Mullins’ The Shunter, who has five entries at the Festival.

Market rivals Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard are among 18 possibles for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Both are with Mullins, with Sir Gerhard having moved from the Elliott stable.

Foster has three in Chemical Energy, Hollow Games and Three Strip Life, while Dan Skelton’s Elle Est Belle, the O’Neill-trained Pressure Sensitive and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Super Six are among the home defence.