Monday 21 August 2017

Tombstone and Limini NOT supplemented for the Champion Hurdle but have other Cheltenham targets

Tombstone
Tombstone

Johnny Ward

TOMBSTONE will not be supplemented for the Stan James Champion Hurdle and will instead run in the Coral Cup on Wednesday, says Eddie O'Leary.

Gigginstown's racing manager believes that, while it was tempting to add him to the big race on day one, the Coral Cup's longer trip will suit the horse, which has been difficult to train.

Tombstone, which has the distinction of having had the same injury hit him in three of his four legs, beat Jezki at Gowran last time, after which it was said he'd probably be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle.

But O'Leary told the Irish Independent on Wednesday: "He's probably a staying chaser in the making and we have to think of that. The ground wasn't really in our thoughts, more the trip.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Tombstone is as low as 5/1 favourite for the Coral Cup.

"The mark is what it is. The handicapper is entitled to put him on what mark he has put him on. But we enter these horses in the dark. So the weights need to be published. He is a nice, fresh horse going there."

Limini has not been supplemented either, leaving Buveur D'Air and Yanworth to top 13 contenders.

Willie Mullins had raised the possibility of adding Limini to the Grade One event following her recent victorious seasonal bow, but opted not to pitch her into the opening day feature.

That leaves the JP McManus-owned pair of Buveur D'Air and Yanworth, trained by Nicky Henderson and Alan King respectively, battling it out for ante-post favouritism.

McManus and Henderson have a second string to their collective bow through dual Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours, while the Seven Barrows trainer also has a third runner in Brain Power, who is owned by Michael Buckley.

While Limini has not been added to the mix, Mullins has left in both Footpad and Vroum Vroum Mag, although the latter is expected to defend her OLBG Mares' Hurdle title on the same card instead.

Mullins also has Wicklow Brave in contention, with Henry de Bromhead's Petit Mouchoir the leading Irish contender following his two recent Grade One victories.

Moon Racer, one of the main ante-post fancies for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, stands his ground for David Pipe, with Nigel Twiston-Davies primed to throw Festival regular The New One into battle once again in the two-mile showpiece.

King's second string Sceau Royal, Dan Skelton's Ch'tibello and the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cyrus Darius round out the contenders.

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