independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Jadanli taking aim at Welsh prize for Gilligan

Clare Balding interviews Nicky Henderson as part of the first day's coverage from Channel 4's new-look racing team

GALWAY trainer Paul Gilligan has high hopes his mudlark Jadanli can make his mark in Saturday's Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

Despite being a 25/1 chance with sponsors Coral, Gilligan believes that his former winner of the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse will give a good account of himself.

"We intend going and our horse will love the ground," said the trainer of his 11-year-old, which finished third in last season's Thyestes Chase at Gowran.

"I've been setting him aside all year for this race and hopefully he might get into the money there. I'm happy with him and he should run well. At the moment Alain Cawley rides him, all being well."

The race was postponed last week due to a waterlogged track, but it is drying up and clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is confident the meeting will go ahead. The prevailing conditions certainly won't be a problem for Giles Cross, which has twice finished runner-up in the Chepstow marathon.

Victor Dartnall's 11-year-old continues to attract ante-post support for the valuable handicap chase, although he'll be making his seasonal debut with Dartnall's stables having closed for a few weeks due to an outbreak of equine herpes.

prolific

However, the Devon trainer believes that lack of a recent run will not be a handicap as he has got plenty of work into his prolific stayer, which has won first time out in the past.

"He seems very well," said the trainer. "It would have been great for him to have had a prep run – he hasn't had one, but he's had a lot of work."

Favourite-backers watching Channel 4's new-look racing coverage at Musselburgh yesterday will at least have been pleased with the outcome of the featured Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle as the well-bred Swing Bowler maintained her unbeaten record.

A daughter of the smart Lady Cricket, whose 11 career successes included the Game Spirit Chase and Thomas Pink Gold Cup, the 3/1 market leader overcame a nine-and-a-half month absence in some style.

David Pipe's six-year-old looked a class act as she swept to a four-and-a-half-length success in the hands of Conor O'Farrell. Speaking from Exeter where he sent out Buddy Bolero (4/1) to score, Pipe said: "That was the softest ground she's had and she handled it well, but she is going to have to improve."

Home Run gave Pipe a double, and his third win of the day, when 10lb-claimer Francis Hayes guided the 6/4 favourite to his fifth success in 26 days in the concluding handicap hurdle.

Ruby Walsh was also on the mark at Exeter, where he guided the Paul Nicholls-trained Hawkes Point (5/6 favourite) to a battling victory in the three-mile novice chase.

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