hamp made a successful seasonal reappearance at Newbury yesterday, finishing second in the Betfair Game Spirit Chase over two miles in what seemed a fine preparation for the Gold Cup.
Last year’s RSA winner made most of the running and jumped perhaps better than ever before eventually being headed by Sceau Royal.
Betfair now make the nine-year-old their 6/1 joint-second-favourite for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.
Sceau Royal, meanwhile, has entries in both the Champion Chase and Champion Hurdle next month, but could wait for Aintree if the ground is soft.
Tiger still Cheltenham bound
Gordon Elliott insists it is “still all systems go for Cheltenham” for Tiger Roll despite his poor showing in Sunday’s Boyne Hurdle at Navan.
The two-time Grand National winner travelled strongly but weakened alarmingly in the home straight and finished last of the sixth, a huge 48 lengths behind his nearest rival.
The winner, Noel Meade’s Beacon Edge, and the second, Elliott’s Fury Road, both have the option of the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
However, Elliott says Coco Beach, winner of the Ten Up Novice Chase on the same card, will likely skip the Festival and be aimed at the Irish Grand National.
Supreme next for Soaring Glory
Soaring Glory will take his chance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after yesterday’s superb victory in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
Jonjo O’Neil’s six-year-old landed the lucrative handicap in fine style and is now a 10/1 chance in the Festival opener.
O’Neil said: “It’s great to win a race like this ad we thought we’d have a go as novices often do well in it.
“He’s entitled to run in [the Supreme]”.
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