Nervous times as we creep ever closer to Cheltenham

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Friday March 3

Early signs are that March might prove much more enjoyable for Barbury than it did last year, with The Unit, who misses Cheltenham to wait for Aintree, getting us rolling at Taunton yesterday, but as the Festival creeps ever closer and almost daily news breaks that another of the big names has been ruled out of the most important four days in NH racing, Alan, like all trainers, hopes and prays that he will have a clean run over the next 10 days.

There are a few more important work and schooling mornings to get over before we head off to Prestbury Park on Tuesday week, and, while runners-wise we quieten down a bit on which is the calm before the storm, things will keep ticking along and it would act as a great fillip for the yard if Sego Success, who heads off to Doncaster tomorrow for the £55,000 Grimthorpe Handicap Chase, could bring back first prize.

Alan said:”Sego Success is 8lb lower than when finishing fourth behind The Last Samuri in the race 12 months ago, which equates to a 20lb pull with the winner, but our fellow, though talented on his day, has never been the most consistent and was again disappointing at Warwick last time. However, he has run some of his best races at Doncaster, so we go there hoping this might be one of his good days.”

We are also at Newbury tomorrow, with Montbazon, who has had more problems than were encountered on stage at the Oscars in Hollywood last week-end, reappearing in the two-mile handicap hurdle.

Alan added:”Montbazon owes us nothing, having been beaten less than two lengths into fourth place in the 2012 Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham and then finishing third in the County there two years later. He was smart on his day and, though he’s been off the track since last April, he seems in good order at home.

Talkischeap runs in the bumper there. He won three point-to-points in Ireland and I was encouraged how well he ran when finishing second on his debut for us at Warwick in January. He’s worked well since.”