Soft ground key to Acapella Bourgeois Festival run

Wed 22 Feb 2017

Ground conditions will be key in deciding whether Acapella Bourgeois will contest the RSA Chase at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

The Sandra Hughes-trained seven-year-old produced a brilliant front-running display to land the Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan last Sunday, coming home with 32 lengths in hand.

While some have suggested the Network gelding may have been given a little too much rope by his rivals, the Irish handicapper was impressed enough to raise his mark by 15lb to 158, making him the highest-rated horse in the RSA Chase on March 15.

However, Hughes revealed her charge is not yet certain to line up at Prestbury Park.

"He's come out of the race 100 per cent and we're very happy with him," said the Osborne Lodge-based trainer.

"I told Roger (Loughran) beforehand to go out and do his own thing and that's what he did.

"What impressed me most was the distance he won by. If he'd won by 10 or 12 lengths you could have said they'd let him off, but he kept up the pace.

"We know the ground is the key to him. I think he'd make it hard for any horse running against him in that ground.

"I'm training him for Cheltenham and I might even travel him, but he won't run unless the ground is soft.

"Going to Cheltenham you need to have every box ticked. We're not interested in going there just to have a runner and this horse is too good to risk.

"We have options. Punchestown could come up a bit softer this year with it being a bit earlier, so we'll see how we go."

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