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Kayf Tara’s Cheltenham contenders

08/03/10 - The Overbury resident has a strong contingent set to line up for jump racing’s extravaganza, which starts next Tuesday

With just a week to go, the countdown has started in earnest to the Cheltenham Festival where six of Kayf Tara’s offspring hold engagements for Grade One events.

The Gold Cup may be being billed as a two-horse race but Lord Oaksey’s Carruthers will be taking his chance and aiming to build on his recent second to Taranis at the track in the G2 Argento Chase. Traditionally a front-runner Carruthers, who won the Mandarin Chase at Newbury in fine style in December, is sure to run a bold race.

The Package and Kornati Kid both have Aintree in their sights with entries in the Grand National but prior to that, they are likely to be seen at Cheltenham where The Package is entered in the G1 RSA Chase and both are entered in the G3 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase on the first day of the meeting. Clan Tara may also run in the RSA Chase, one of three entries for him at the meeting.

Other potential runners that day are Mad Max, who is set to contest the G1 Arkle Trophy, and the mares Love Of Tara and Tot Of The Knar, who could run in the G2 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. Love Of Tara, a dual hurdles winner trained by Martin Keighley, has multiple engagements and her connections also have the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and the Marti Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, both on Friday, to choose from.

The Andy Turnell-trained Michael Flips lines up for the fiercely competitive Coral Cup on Wednesday, with that day’s traditional curtain down being the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, which will feature Jeremy Hinds’ homebred Megastar.

Kayf Aramis provided his sire with his first Festival success last year in the Pertemps Final and the tough-as-teak eight-year-old will be back for more, though it is not yet known whether he will defend his crown or take up his engagement in the G1 World Hurdle. One horse who does have his sights set on the Pertemps-sponsored race is Alfie Sherrin, a good winner last time out at Newbury, who will be aiming for his fourth victory from just five starts.

Haldon Gold Cup winner Planet Of Sound is being aimed at the G1 Ryanair Chase on Thursday. His otherwise exemplary record of finishing in the money on every one of 14 outings suffered a reverse last month when he fell at Ascot when a hot favourite for the Betfair Ascot Chase but his solid performances up until then, including third in last year’s Arkle Chase, have earned his owners in excess of £100,000.

Cheltenham diehards will be sticking around for the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle which brings a close to the four-day Festival and this tricky handicap features another of Kayf Tara’s most resilient performers, Katies Tuitor. The seven-year-old gelding has won seven times and at least once in each of his four seasons in training. While he has not run at the Festival before, he did win a handicap hurdle over course and distance at the April meeting and is also bidding for the notable Imperial Cup-Cheltenham double with an entry at Sandown this Saturday.

Katies Tuitor may be aiming to end the week in style but hoping to start the week that way is Flat Out, a Willie Mullins-trained entry for the first race of the Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, by our new National Hunt stallion, Sagamix.