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Tully East spearheads strong Cheltenham team for Alan Fleming

Sun 4 Mar 2018

Alan Fleming has high hopes for his team of five heading to the Cheltenham Festival, headed by his 2017 hero Tully East.

The Curragh handler was pleased with the weight of 11st 3lb given to the eight-year-old, who did the business in the Close Brothers' Novices' Handicap Chase last March.

Tully East's target this time is the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase. He shaped well when third of 20 to Patricks Park at Leopardstown a month ago.

"I was really happy with the weight Tully East has got, so fingers crossed he can run another big race," said Fleming.

As You Were (Coral Cup), Foxrock (St James Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase), Hurricane Darwin (Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase) and Champayne Lady (Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle) are the other members of his string bound for the Cotswolds.

"I'd say those five are OK to go," he said.

"As You Were is going for the Coral Cup Handicap. He was also in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle as well but he's going for the Coral.

"All being well he gets in. He's number 40 so he has a chance of getting in."

The snow that has hit Ireland in recent days has not affected Fleming's preparations.

"The weather's bad but we've missed nothing, so we're happy," he said.

"We had a few had racecourse gallopers after racing at Naas on Sunday and we were absolutely delighted.

"I couldn't be happier and everything is going forward nicely.

"We've a nice bunch of horses going to Cheltenham, so it's exciting

"Most of the horses going over there want goodish ground, good to soft would be grand. We'll be going there hopeful."

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