Wednesday 23 August 2017

Ivan Grozny and Labaik set for big hurdle test at Cheltenham

Ivan Grozny
Ivan Grozny

Thomas Kelly

Ivan Grozny heads the Irish challenge for the stanjames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old, whose last two wins over jumps have both come at Tipperary, is among the 10 entries for the Grade Two contest.

Owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, he ran out a ready winner of the Istabraq Hurdle on his latest start and made a successful raid to England when scoring at Aintree in April.

There is a second Irish entry in Gordon Elliott's Labaik, which refused to race in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse last Sunday - something he has previously done on the Flat.

Dual winner The New One could make his reappearance.

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The eight-year-old, successful in 2013 and 2014, was to have made his chasing debut at Exeter last week only for that meeting to be lost to the weather.

Last year's winner Old Guard features again for trainer Paul Nicholls, while the JP McManus-owned Yanworth is a fascinating contender. The Alan King-trained six-year-old was a top novice last term and got the campaign off to a winning start in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot last month.

Yanworth's owner McManus also has the Nicky Henderson-trained pair of My Tent Or Yours and Hargam.

282/1 treble for Egan

John Egan chalked up a near-282/1 treble at Lingfield highlighted by the victory of the aptly-named Gracious John in the five-furlong handicap.

The three-year-old showed tremendous speed to dispose of some older rivals despite the steadier of joint top-weight of 9st 9lb. Egan had the David Evans-trained colt not far off the pace set by Bosham before unleashing him on the home turn with a dashing run on the far rail.

Egan had started the day on the 49-winner mark for the year and reached 50 on Gracious Tom (4/1) for the Evans team in the seller before doubling up on Van Huysen (12/1) for Dominic Ffrench Davis in the ten-furlong handicap.

Elsewhere, Graham Gibbons was handed a three-day ban for careless riding in Heiba's victory.

Irish Independent

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