Although most horses have now completed their racecourse preparations ahead of their participation at the March Cheltenham Festival, both Redicean and Mitchouka entered calculations for their intended targets with comfortable victories on Saturday. For the former horse, the Triumph Hurdle now beckons for a gelding unbeaten in all three hurdle races to date.
Redicean at Kempton Park
Redicean moved to the Alan King stable following a reasonable flat campaign last summer with two victories earned from eight starts.The 4-year-old subsequently won two juvenile hurdle races at Kempton Park before featuring in the 2m Adonis Hurdle at the weekend.
Around the sharp Kempton track, Redicean was allowed to bide his time before swooping around the final turn to register a seven lengths success in a style suggesting that he could compete at longer distances.
King at Kempton
King’s horse has now been shortened to 5/1 second favourite with many bookmakers for the Triumph Hurdle, but winning three successive races at the flat Kempton course is far different from claiming victory over a similar distance and travelling left-handed around the Cheltenham undulations. In contrast, current favourite Apple’s Shakira is a triple course and distance winner.
Mitchouka Won at Fairyhouse
The manner of Mitchouka’s win at Fairyhouse on Saturday offered the possibility that he could be a participant in the Triumph Hurdle. Although the Gordon Elliott horse won the juvenile hurdle much easier than the 2+ lengths margin suggests, it was a Grade 3 contest and the quality of the opposition was questionable.
Elliott has suggested that the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle is Mitchouka’s intended target for which he is priced at approximately 14/1 third favourite.
If The Cap Fits Injury
Among other news to emerge over the last few days was the injury withdrawal of If The Cap Fits from the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Trainer Harry Fry confirmed that a muscle injury would prevent his unbeaten hurdler from running at Cheltenham.
Cue Card at Ryaniar Chase
Meanwhile, Colin Tizzard revealed the fan’s favourite Cue Card would be a Ryanair participant rather than trying to win the Gold Cup at the third attempt.
A gallant second place behind Waiting Patiently over 2m5f at Ascot proved that Cue Card has returned to a decent level of fitness since finishing tired in the Haydock mud back in November. The 12-year-old gelding is a former Ryanair winner, but his advancing years may count against him at Cheltenham.