'All systems go' for Cee Bee
WITH just 11 days to the start of the Cheltenham Festival, Eddie Harty yesterday reported Captain Cee Bee to be on target for Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Although the JP McManus-owned gelding also holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase, the sportingbet.com-sponsored highlight on day two, for which he is a best-priced 14/1, remains the target for the dual Grade One winner.
Hugely impressive when beating the current champion hurdler Binocular in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2008, Captain Cee Bee has endured mixed fortunes since then. Following that famous win, he sustained a leg injury at the Punchestown Festival, and missed the whole of the next season.
The 10-year-old returned last term to post another top-level success at Punchestown in April, though he was a disappointing favourite for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham prior to that, when a burst blood vessel hindered his performance.
This term, Captain Cee Bee scored at Naas in October, but he hasn't run since finishing last of four in soft ground behind Big Zeb at Leopardstown after Christmas.
"He's doing great," Harty said of his stable star. "It's all systems go and we're counting down the days. Everything has gone according to plan. I'm just hoping he'll be fit and well on the day. If he gets there nice and fresh we'll see what happens after that."
- Keys has been ruled out of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham due to a bacterial infection. Trainer Roger Charlton is hoping the four-year-old will have recovered in time for a similar race at Aintree next month.