Countdown to Cheltenham: Marsh taking shape; Curtis has Lisnagar faith


ith Gordon Elliott’s superstar Envoi Allen the long-time antepost favourite, the Marsh Novices’ Chase looks to be a race few trainers are keen on targeting, but challengers are slowly beginning to emerge. 

Last year’s Supreme third Chantry House is in to 10/1 NRNB for the race after returning to winning ways at Wetherby yesterday. 

Nicky Henderson’s charge won on chase debut at Ascot but disappointed at Cheltenham last time out. 

“I was happy with that,” jockey Nico De Boinville said afterwards. “He’s put Cheltenham behind him there. The most important thing was to get him back on track after that and I think he’s done that.”

Winters settles on Chatham Street Lad target 

Another horse on course for the Marsh is Chatham Street Lad, winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham earlier this season. 

The nine-year-old had a host of Festival options, in novice, handicap and open company, but has now been scratched from all races bar one. 

“He not out of the Marsh, he’s still in that one,” Winters said. “That’s the race the owners want to run in.” 

He could be joined by last weekend’s Scilly Isles winner Sporting John, with trainer Phillip Hobbs suggesting ground will dictate whether he runs over the intermediate trip or is stepped up to three miles, after staying on superbly to win at Sandown. 

Curtis still hopeful of Lisnagar resurgence 

Rebecca Curtis has lost none of her faith in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar, despite his winless run since then. 

The eight-year-old has been well-beaten on two starts this season and is due to run for the first time since November in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock this weekend, before heading to Cheltenham to try to repeat last year’s surprise success. 

Curtis said: “My faith hasn’t been dented – definitely not. I think he’s as good as last year and we’ve found an excuse for those last couple of runs in that he needed his wind doing, so we’ll see.”

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