Alan will have just the two runners at Cheltenham next week

 In Latest News

March 9

Sign of the times maybe, but Alan plans to have just two runners at next week’s Cheltenham Festival – and both will be on the Wednesday.

Edwardstone is the big hope for Barbury, and he has a favourite’s chance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, while Alan hopes Favour And Fortune might outrun his odds in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, even though he is taking a big jump in class after winning twice in Class five company.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Alan will be missing the opening day, and he also has a rare Saturday off this week-end, having been forced to opt out of Sandown with his two entries on the Esher course because of the likely testing ground.

Meanwhile, we have two runners tomorrow, though Alan stresses that Crystal Moon would only run at Leicester if the ground does not deteriorate too much.

He said:”I hope Crystal Moon can run as we have purposely given him a break since he won at Huntingdon on Boxing Day, and he is ready to return.

Alan said:”Crystal Moon looked an unlikely winner most of the way round at Huntingdon as he was hating the holding ground. However, he fought his way to a narrow success and we gave him that holiday in order to wait for spring ground as we’ve always felt he would benefit from that.

“Huntingdon was only Crystal Moon’s second race over fences, and he has loved jumping the larger obstacles. He had shown promise first time out at Southwell and should progress again if underfoot conditions are right.”

Our other runner tomorrow is Sword Beach in the mile and a half handicap at Kempton’s polytrack meeting.

Alan added:”Sword Beach has been too keen, so we have been trying to teach him to relax and finish his races properly.

“Judged on his last run at Kempton six weeks ago, we seem to be getting there as Sword Beach’s fourth place there was his best effort yet. He was doing his best work at the finish and, though this is a higher grade than would have been ideal, I’m hoping he will run other good race.”