Cheltenham Festival

Mark Bradstock‘s talented staying novice hurdler, Coneygree, could be given an entry in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March to go with his original target of the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle, following the shock absence from the feature race of the outstanding four-time winner, Big Buck’s due to injury.

Currently available at around 16/1 for the staying novice event, Coneygree’s connections are preparing to keep their options open now that Paul Nicholls’ staying great is ruled out of contention leaving the three-mile contest wide open.

If the gelded son of Karinga Bay continues on the steep upward curve of late, it is not at all beyond the bounds of possibility that he might line up for the World Hurdle amongst the more fancied contenders, such as four-time David Nicholson Mares Hurdle winner, Quevega, last year’s runner-up, Voler La Vedette, Oscar Whisky, or Peddler’s Cross.

The winner of a Uttoxeter bumper on his racecourse bow in November of last year, Coneygree’s only defeat came in a listed bumper at Newbury on his second outing, but he made a bright start to his hurdles campaign this term when winning in good style back at Uttoxeter by 20 lengths.

Stepped up dramatically in class for his second start over timber Bradstock’s rising star took the move well in his stride as he handed out a seven-length defeat to Bondage in Grade 2 company at Cheltenham over two-miles-five-furlongs.

He then repeated the feat back at the Prestbury circuit over three miles on heavy ground at the weekend, powering up the hill to beat Aerial by seven lengths.
There is no doubt that Coneygree stays well and doesn’t have to have deep ground to be at his best, so he could prove a very interesting prospect should he win again in good company before maybe having a crack at the World Hurdle itself.

Don’t forget next March’s feature event, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, when planning your itinerary for 2013. Bob’s Worth is currently the 46/11 favourite for the win, followed by Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs.