Trainers’ Plans Unveiled Ahead of Cheltenham Festival

horse and jocket close up as we look at Cheltenham Festival

Trainers’ Plans Unveiled Ahead of Cheltenham Festival

As the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival quickens its pace, leading trainers have revealed their strategies for the upcoming four-day extravaganza at a media event hosted by The Jockey Club at The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power. Amongst the discussions, trainers provided insights into their contenders and expectations for various races, offering fans a glimpse into what promises to be an enthralling festival ahead of booking tickets.

Ben Pauling’s Considerations

Speaking at the event, Ben Pauling, a seasoned trainer known for his astute handling of equine talent, shared his insights and aspirations for his stable’s contenders. He expressed optimism about Bowtogreatness’s chances in the Kim Muir, stating, “I think Bowtogreatness might get into the Kim Muir. He ran well on Saturday and is a horse that takes a lot of getting fit – I haven’t been hard on him and I think he might finally be ready now.”

Regarding Twig’s potential participation in the Ultima, Pauling remarked, “Twig definitely goes in the Ultima. He needs good to soft at worse and if we get the predicted ground then Shakem Up’Arry will go for the Plate, which he was third in last year.”


Offering insights into other contenders, Pauling added, “Harper’s Brook goes for the Grand Annual and could possibly wear blinkers. He is a talented horse. Henry’s Friend has come bouncing out the Reynoldstown (Novices’ Chase) and I’d say he is now likely to go for the National Hunt Chase.”

Jamie Snowden’s Aspirations

Jamie Snowden, another prominent figure in the training ranks, articulated his plans for his string of hopefuls set to grace the Cheltenham turf. Snowden expressed a keen interest in sending Hardy Du Seuil for the Grand Annual, stating, “I’d like to go for the Grand Annual with Hardy Du Seuil. He ran at Sandown last time and if he gets in he’d have a right chance.”

Regarding Ga Law’s potential participation in the Ryanair Chase, Snowden deliberated, “I didn’t put Ga Law in the Ryanair Chase as it closed before he won on Trials Day. He finished fifth in the Ryanair last season and is now definitely back to his best.”

horses racing at Cheltenham over a hurdle

Insights from Assistant Trainers

The media event also featured contributions from assistant trainers, offering additional perspectives on their respective stables’ festival plans. AJ O’Neill, representing Jonjo O’Neill’s yard, provided insights into Monbeg Genius’s prospects, stating, “Monbeg Genius goes for the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday and if he comes out of that well he could take in the Ultima at The Festival before going to the Grand National.”

Meanwhile, Willy Twiston-Davies, assistant to Nigel Twiston-Davies, shared thoughts on notable contenders such as Cuthbert Dibble and Weveallbeencaught, stating, “Cuthbert Dibble ran very well at Haydock last week… I’d imagine. Weveallbeencaught’s first two chase runs were very good… off 134 you’d like to think he’s pretty well handicapped.”

Going Update

Amidst the discussions surrounding trainers’ plans, Jon Pullin, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, provided a crucial update on the ground conditions. Pullin assured fans that efforts were underway to maintain suitable ground conditions for the Cheltenham Festival, stating, “We are Soft ground at the moment with the rain we’ve had and the Cross Country Course would be heavy in places.”

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