Henderson hoping Cash And Go can go one better in Greatwood

Nicky Henderson has a 7-strong team entered in the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham , spearheaded by last year’s runner-up Cash And Go.

The Lambourn handler also the highly-regarded Michael Buckley-owned pair of Rolling Star and River Maigue entered for the contest on Sunday, November 17, along with French import Blue Fashion, who was fourth in a Grade One contest at Auteuil in June, Gibb River, progressive course winner First In The Queue and Makari.

Hendderson said today: “The horse I am most looking forward to in the Greatwood is Cash And Go. He is in good form and ran a great race to finish second last year. Things didn’t go right for him after that, but I am going to start again with him this season and see how we go.

“I would also be interested in Rolling Star and River Maigue because the Greatwood, like the Paddy Power Gold Cup, tends to suit those second-season horses. The fact they are unexposed just gives them half a chance against the older horses.

“Rolling Star was very impressive first time out last season and went into the Triumph Hurdle as favourite, but disappointed us. He just petered out at the end of last season for one reason or another, but is a lovely horse.”

Flaxen Flare is one of 10 entries trained in Ireland and Gordon Elliott’s charge could bid to become the first Irish-trained winner since Sizing Europe in 2007. He enjoyed an impressive success in the Grade Three Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in March and was a fine second in the Galway Hurdle in August.

The four-year-old came home a respectable seventh in a Flat handicap at Leopardstown on September 7.

Elliott revealed: “The StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle is a valuable pot and we will definitely have a look at it with Flaxen Flare.

“He runs this weekend in the Grade Two at Down Royal. Obviously, Jezki is running there too so it will be a tough ask, but it is good prize money and we would be delighted if he could finish second or third.

“He ran a very good race to finish second in the Galway Hurdle and we have freshened him up since his last run at Leopardstown. He might not be as fit as we would like him to be, but he should run a good race.”

Ireland’s champion jump trainer Willie Mullins has four possible starters in the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle, including progressive Galway scorer Call Me Bubbles and talented six-year-old Midnight Game, while Sabrina Harty has entered Kalann, who was last seen over hurdles when 10th in the 2012 Stan James Champion Hurdle at The Festival.

Get Me Out Of Here, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, is the potential top-weight and has run well at Cheltenham without winning.

The nine-year-old captured the 2010 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and went on to finish second in that season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival at Cheltenham. He has also finished runner-up in two other races at The Festival – the 2011 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and 2012 Coral Cup.

O’Neill said: “The StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle is an option for Get Me Out Of Here providing the ground is not too soft.

“He is a great old horse, but is getting a bit long in the tooth now. We have thought about going chasing with him in the past, but he doesn’t like jumping fences.

“He has been a super horse, but he has reached his level now and you have to treat him a bit like some of those old sprinters – you take your chance and hopefully one day it comes off.”

Paul Nicholls landed the prestigious handicap hurdle with Brampour (2011) and Rigmarole (2003) and has five entries this year, led by Far West and Sametegal, who were second and third to Our Conor in the JCB Triumph Hurdle in March. The quintet is completed by Caid Du Berlais, Mr Mole and Grade One runner-up Ptit Zig.

Alan King has entered Grade One scorers L’Unique and Grumeti, who finished fourth behind the Evan Williams-trained Court Minstrel in the Scottish Champion Hurdle on his only appearance last season.

Olofi, trained by Tom George in Gloucestershire, could bid to become the first dual winner having won the contest last year, while Harry Fry has entered Karinga Dancer, who completed a four-timer in facile fashion at Aintree on October 26.

David Pipe’s four possible runners include Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle fifth Tanerko Emery and Betfair Hurdle third Swing Bowler, while Cotton Mill headlines a quartet trained by John Ferguson.

Other notable contenders include the John Quinn-trained pair of Calculated Risk and Kashmir Peak, a Grade Two winner at Doncaster last term.

Weights for the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle will be revealed on Wednesday, November 6 and the maximum field size is 24.

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