Season starts well for British champion with first two mares scanned in foal.

With the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, Kayf Tara will be well represented at National Hunt racing’s biggest meeting but not far down the road from Prestbury Park it’s business as usual for ‘the champ’ at Overbury Stud.

Having led the British National Hunt sires’ table for seven years now, it’s no surprise that Kayf Tara’s book continues to increase in quality and, once again, he has some lovely mares on the list to visit him this year. His book for 2017 will be capped at 100 and will include:

• Megalex – the dam of G1 Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy and G2 Aintree Bumper winner Megastar

• Maid Of Oaksey – a half-sister to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree and Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers

• L’Unique – winner of the G1 4-Y-O Hurdle at Aintree

• Gaspara – Cheltenham Festival winner

• Alina Rhineberg – dam of G2 hurdle winner Constantine Bay

• Toubeera – G2 hurdle winner

• Stravinsky Dance – French G3 hurdle winner

• Nonnetia – the dam of G3 steeplechase winner One For Arthur

• Listed hurdle winners – Whoops A Daisy, Oligarch Society, Polly Peachum, Ryde Back, Aurore D’Estruval and Balmusette

So far this season Kayf Tara has had just two mares scanned and both have been tested in foal.

“Of course that’s a great relief to know that, at the age of 23, he can still get the job done. He’s certainly still very keen in the covering shed, said Simon Sweeting.

“We are restricting his book to 100 mares for now but if we get to May and he’s still feeling well, we could take a few late-foaling mares. We just don’t want to put him under any pressure.

“With regard to Cheltenham, it’s obviously disappointing for so many people that Thistlecrack has been ruled out, but I wouldn’t rule out the chances of Tea For Two in the Gold Cup. He wasn’t beaten far in the King George and there’s another two and a half furlongs in the Gold Cup. It would certainly be a wonderful story for racing if Lizzie Kelly were to win the Gold Cup.”