Cheltenham Festival gets the go-ahead



Not only has Gordon Elliott's raider won three times at the festival he was also a stunning victor of the Grand National last April, so if he can replicate that effort then he is entitled to be a warm jolly for the unique jumping test. We had him entered at Leopardstown at Christmas and the ground was just too firm and I knew that I would get ground at Tramore.

The second, Concertista, had never run over hurdles before, and had not run in a race since leaving France in 2017.

De Boinville had plenty in front of him coming down the hill, as Quel Destin, Coeur Sublime and his stablemate Adjali were still in contention.

"I couldn't run her this year on the ground at home", said Mullin, 'but I felt she was well enough and her jumping was good enough to run over hurdles here.

The winning rider Noel Fehily announced that this was his last Cheltenham Festival and that he would soon retire, after what was his first success of the week. I have sort of counted my blessings there and not focused on the Gold Cup, I haven't let it burrow into my mind.

But it is 16 years since the favourite won this ferociously competitive handicap, while eight of the last 10 winners started at odds of 14-1 or bigger, so it can pay to look beyond the obvious. He continued, "I am not getting any younger and it is a young man's game".

"I haven't spoken to the trainers I ride for, so it will probably be in a couple of weeks, we'll play it by ear".

"This horse has won at four Cheltenham Festivals now and a Grand National".

"He has just been unlucky that he is there alongside Ruby (Walsh) and, any time Ruby is free, Paul gets to ride the second horse".

Elliott will unleash a stellar squad at Prestbury Park on Wednesday and he will saddle Delta Work in the RSA Chase, but last season's Pertemps Final hero will face a lively rival in the shape of Santini, who is looking to show his best form at 2:10pm, but will need to show he is 100% after picking up a slight niggle in the lead-up to the festival. He didn't travel like he did past year.