Cheltenham jigsaw approaching completion

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Sunday February 26

Alan might have to wait a while to hear whether Barry Geraghty will choose Yanworth over Nicky Henderson’s Buveur d’Or as his mount for next month’s Champion Hurdle, but after Saturday’s double at Kempton several more pieces in the Barbury jigsaw for the Cheltenham Festival were slotted into place.

Reflecting on another excellent day, Alan said:”River Frost might skip Cheltenham altogether, but Master Blueyes, who was impressive in winning the Adonis, has earned his place in the Triumph Hurdle field.

“I wasn’t sure we had one good enough for the Triumph this year, but Master Blueyes has come on enormously these last couple of weeks, so much so that we decided to find out just where we stood by running him at Kempton.

“It was annoying that Wayne was not allowed to ride after his fall at Exeter on Friday, but Tom Bellamy seized his chance and rode a super race.

“That victory at Ludlow gave Master Blueyes so much confidence, so it looks like the Triumph for him with Coeur de Lion, who is owned by another of the Barbury Lions syndicates put together by former Warwick chairman David Hill, likely to head for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.

“We ran Elgin in the Dovecote to see whether it was worth going for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day, and, though he was beaten fair and square by River Wylde, I thought he ran a super race and was pleased how well he battled after his mistake at the last, so we’ll probably take our chance at Cheltenham, too.”