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Time's up for Argento tilt

Having scoped badly, RSA Chase favourite Time For Rupert is being forced to miss his build-up in the Argento Chase at Prestbury Park tomorrow and will now head straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

Ireland's leading chance for that race is the Gordon Elliott-trained Jessies Dream and after finishing second to Magnanimity at Leopardstown earlier this month Elliott had him ready to go straight to the Festival and the trainer has little doubt that he could reverse the form of his Leopardstown defeat.

"He has come out of his last race very well and he had a break for a fortnight and we are training him now for the RSA Chase," said Elliott.


"That defeat was just one of those days. Timmy (Murphy) said that if they rode the race again, then he would win on him and I'm just putting a line through it and worrying about Cheltenham."

Jessies Dream was owner David Johnson's first winner trained in Ireland and Elliott is hopeful of a big run at Cheltenham.

"To be fair the more the ground dries out the better and the trip wouldn't be a problem.

"He'll love the trip and the ground and Cheltenham has been the plan all year.

"I'm hoping he's going there with a sporting each-way chance."

Elliott, who will ride in the Charity Race on St Patrick's Day is looking to add to his Grand National win and Ebor Handicap win as a trainer.

Meanwhile, trainer Colm Murphy is delighted that Punchestown have taken the initiative to cover the whole track ahead of Sunday's Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase.

Murphy told the Herald during the week: "I wouldn't bother me one bit if I didn't get a run into before Cheltenham but I certainly wouldn't want to run him to close to it that's for sure."

Big Zeb is set to face Sizing Europe and Golden Silver on Sunday and Murphy was concerned the meeting may have been lost to the frost but Punchestown looks to have outdone that prospect with the covers.

Murphy added yesterday: "This is brilliant news from Punchestown.

"It's great that they have taken the lead in planning to beat the elements.

"Racing has suffered this season and Punchestown must be applauded in the efforts they are taking to ensure the meeting goes ahead."