Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 23 March 2017

Listener going for Gold

Jockey Andrew McNamara with his mount The Listner and trainer Nick Mitchell (left). Photo: PA
Jockey Andrew McNamara with his mount The Listner and trainer Nick Mitchell (left). Photo: PA

Nick Mitchell believes The Listener could be the forgotten horse heading into Saturday's rearranged Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

The bold jumping grey has won four Grade Ones, two of those at Leopardstown, including the 2008 renewal of this prestigious race.

He showed in the Lexus Chase that the old exuberance was still there, despite being a 12-year-old and after over a year off, and the soft ground he will encounter this weekend will be no worry to him.

"He has come out of the Lexus very well and the main objective was to get a race into him and to come back with his leg as clean as a whistle and it has been touch wood," said Mitchell.

"He hasn't missed a beat and it has been behaving itself and we will kick on.

"He had a very common tendon stress on his foreleg and we managed to get it very early before it got seriously bad.

"He has had stem cell surgery and he has come back from this sort of injury quite quickly with a view to his age and being 12 now and so far it has worked fine.

"If the opposition is similar to last Saturday, without Pride Of Dulcote, I have a lot of faith in him and he is a bit of a forgotten horse."

The Listener is a 10-1 chance with Paddy Power for Saturday's race.

Eoin Griffin admits he is "in two minds" about whether to run Glencove Marina.

He feels the three miles may be too far if the ground is heavy, but wants to get a run into him to see if the nine-year-old has any chance of going to Cheltenham next month.

"He had a pretty poor run the last day and was well below par for him. He was lame after the race and was fine a couple of days after it and has been fine since," the County Kilkenny told At The Races.

"We had plans to run him at Gowran in the Red Mills Chase, but that has been postponed until the 19th.

"The Hennessy went back to the original entry stage. We left him in this time, but the ground looks like being heavy there and I'm in two minds whether to run him or not. Gowran the following week is getting a bit too close to Cheltenham.

"We had hoped to run him in the Ryanair, but it would be very hard to go there on the back of the Thurles run.

"In the Lexus, I don't think he quite got home in the ground and the ground will be somewhat similar at the weekend. We still might run him as we are running out of time for Cheltenham."

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