Joseph O'Brien in no rush to firm up Edwulf plans

Mon 19 Feb 2018

Joseph O'Brien reports Edwulf in good heart two weeks on from his heroic victory in the Irish Gold Cup but a decision on his participation at Cheltenham will not be made until closer to the Festival.

The JP McManus-owned gelding produced a fairytale comeback to take the feature contest at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival, having come close to death when collapsing at Prestbury Park last March.

Not surprisingly, O'Brien is taking a cautious approach with the nine-year-old and will see how he is closer to the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup before committing him to a challenge.

"He seems to have come out of the race well," said O'Brien.

"I'll have to speak to Frank (Berry) and JP and see what the plan is. Obviously if he was to go to Cheltenham, the Gold Cup is the obvious race for him.

"To be honest, the most important thing with him was to see how he was a couple of weeks afterwards.

"He's entered in those races so we don't have to make that decision for another two weeks really.

"We'll see what the ground is like and see what our other options are. There are plenty of things we can do with him if we don't go there."

The O'Brien-trained Tower Bridge is firmly on course for Cheltenham but despite holding an entry in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, he could still be supplemented for the Albert Bartlett over three miles. 

He was a shock 25-1 winner of the Grade One Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last time out.

"He's entered in the Ballymore and we might think about supplementing him for the Albert Bartlett," said O'Brien.

"If he's well, he'll go to Cheltenham for one of the races. Whether it's the two-five or the three-mile, that will be decided closer to the time when we get a feel of what might be running in the two-five and other things.

"Obviously he's Flat-bred and that's probably the reason I didn't have him entered in the three-miler originally, but he looks to stay very well.

"He looked to stay very well in his bumpers, also, and has a very good attitude.

"His jumping has improved considerably with each race and you'd have to say, on the whole, he was very good in Leopardstown.

"He should be better on better ground, I'd imagine, as well. He won a couple of bumpers very impressively on good ground.

"He's a big, good-looking sort, so he's an exciting horse."

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