Watch galloping clues plus get all the latest news on Jessica Harrington's team for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Jessica Harrington recorded her first win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when Sizing John – her first ever runner in the race – landed Cheltenham’s blue-riband contest in 2017 and, although her stable star has been ruled out of for the season, the leading Irish trainer is set to send a decent squad over for this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Harrington has already raided Britain twice this season with Magic Of Light and the eight-year-old is a general 14-1 chance for the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Here’s what the Unibet Ambassador has to say about her contenders at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Race: OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. Odds: 33-1.
Alletrix finished fourth behind Laurina last time out
She is another one who ran well the other day. She made a bad mistake at the third last and it rather knocked her back, but she stayed on great. She will appreciate the hill at Cheltenham and again she’s another one that would like some dig in the ground, but she goes on anything. There are still some very good mares about but I think she’s got a chance of running into a place because she’ll stay up the hill really well.
A SIZING NETWORK
Race: Glenfarclas Chase. Odds: 20-1.
He has been entered in the Cross-Country race and, since he ran in the autumn, he’s had a back operation. He came back and ran over banks at Punchestown the other day. He needed the race, he took a fair blow. He jumped super – really, really well. Look, he’s there to have fun and if the ground is good it will suit him very well. Whether he quite gets the trip, I’m not sure, but they will only lob along, and they will be turning, and if he jumps well he could be there with a shout at the end.
Race: Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Odds: 20-1.
He is rated 138. Though he hasn’t won this year, he has been third twice and second once in very good maiden hurdles. He would most likely go for the Martin Pipe and he could be a lively contender in that race.
Race: Mares' Novices' Hurdle. Odds: 16-1.
She is a very exciting mare. The only thing with her is that we’ve only managed to get a couple of runs over hurdles. She won very well in Naas, winning by twelve lengths pulling up, and her time was faster than the other two-mile races that day. She’s going there, she jumps very well, she loves bowling along, two-miles suits her very well and every drop of rain will suit her really well.
Race: Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Odds: 20-1.
He has got a rating in England of 138. That is quite high. I don’t know what the top weight in that (the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) will be. He’s in very good form and I think he’s had enough experience for a handicap, albeit it’s the 4-year-old handicap. He would love it if they had a little bit more dig in the ground. We know he loves soft ground and he hasn’t had it to run on all winter.
Race: Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase. Odds: 20-1.
He is in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase (Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase). He is an interesting horse. He is talented and has run some good races this year without winning anything. He likes a bit of good ground and I think the other day at Thurles they went very quick for him and he got outpaced only to stay on very well from the last. Two miles and four furlongs wouldn’t be a problem for him.
Race: JLT Novices’ Chase. Odds: 20-1.
He may run in the JLT. He’s had a good year and keeps getting placed. He’s jumping well and he’s better left-handed than right-handed, which would be the one thing that might make me take him there (Cheltenham). He’s a good solid horse, he was just beaten in a Grade 1 Hurdle last year and he stays well.
MAGIC OF LIGHT
Race: Ultima Handicap Chase. Odds: 14-1.
She is in the three-mile Handicap Chase. She’s rated 151 in England I think, a bit higher in England than she is over here but she could be competitive off that mark.
NOT MANY LEFT
Race: Coral Cup & Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle. Odds: 33-1 & 20-1.
He is in the Pertemps and the Coral Cup. I’m not certain which race he’s going to run in, but I would be leaning towards the Coral Cup. He won well in Huntingdon to get his qualification, he’s a good handicapper with plenty of experience, and I think the Coral Cup will suit him very well. I’m not certain he’d get the three-miles up the steep hill in the Pertemps.
Race: Sun Racing Stayer’s Hurdle and Unibet Champion Hurdle.
Odds: 5-1 & 20-1.
Supasundae found only Penhill too good in the Stayers' Hurdle last year
He appears to be in great form. He came out of the race at Leopardstown very well and we are on course. He is going to go to the Curragh to do a breeze there just to get him away from home because he is quite a stuffy horse that carries a lot of condition. At the moment, he will be confirmed for the both the Unibet Champion Hurdle and the Stayers’ Hurdle. If I made a decision today, I would be going, because the ground is good, towards the three-mile option.
WALK TO FREEDOM
Race: Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle. Odds: 11-1.
He is the horse that has resurrected himself from the dead. He had nearly a year and a half off because of various injuries. He came back this year and seems to be better than ever. I’ve only run him over hurdles and he qualified for the Pertemps Final, and I think he’ll have a great chance in that. He stays three-miles and the faster they go the better he’ll like it. It would be great if we could get him back to Cheltenham and run really well.
Race: National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase. Odds: 20-1.
He doesn’t get into the Handicaps, neither the Kim Muir nor the Close Brothers as he’s rated 146 in England. He won really well in Leopardstown the other day and he’ll run in the four-mile race. He will like good ground – the better the ground, the better he will like it.
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