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Countdown to the Festival

Cheltenham preview – day two 26 February 2013

 

With a fortnight to go before the start of National Hunt racing’s most exciting four days of the year, Kayf Tara is amassing a strong team of representatives for this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

His runners at Prestbury Park on the second day of action include a trio in the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase for amateur riders, named this year in honour of the great broadcaster, writer, amateur rider and owner/breeder of Kayf Tara’s Hennessy winner Carruthers. Lining up for this event will be the Paul Nicholls-trained Hawkes Point, whose full-brother Alfie Sherrin is already a Cheltenham Festival winner and is engaged to defend his crown in the Grade 3 JLT Specialty Handicap Chase on the opening day.

Also entered are Jim Culloty’s Total Submission, a winner at Wetherby in February, and the mare Fentara, who scored a wide-margin victory over fences at Kempton in January before gaining black type with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase behind Goulanes and Super Duty.

As mentioned in the first-day preview, Willie Mullins’ talented representative Mozoltov holds three entries during Cheltenham week, one of which is Wednesday’s Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.

There’s usually plenty of hurly-burly in the big field for the Coral Cup, which this year will hopefully feature Irish raider Fahamore, the winner of his last two starts for trainer Eddie Harty in the colours of JP McManus.

Another McManus colour-bearer could be seen in the equally competitive Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the traditional closer for Wednesday’s card. Gone Too Far has had just one run to date, finishing second to Oscar Rock at Newbury in November, but he is clearly highly regarded by his trainer Alan King, who has him entered for the Festival.