Sunday 21 January 2018

Bowe eyes prep run for Flyer en route to Festival

Colin Bowe. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Colin Bowe. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Progressive chaser Shantou Flyer is likely to have another run before crossing the Irish Sea for next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Colin Bowe's six-year-old won four times from five starts between late July and mid-November, scoring at Cheltenham and winning a Grade Two prize at Punchestown along the way.

He was given some time off after failing to make an impact in the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse in November and Bowe feels the break has done him good ahead of his return.

"He couldn't match No More Heroes in Fairyhouse and Barry (O'Neill) said he wasn't in love with the ground," the Co Wexford-based trainer explained.

"He'd been on the go a while so we gave him a good old break and he's come back in good form.

"We'll probably give him one more run before Cheltenham. Whether that's in a chase or a hurdle race, I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes.

"The four miler (National Hunt Chase) is the plan and we're getting towards the time of year when the ground should get better, which will suit him."

Meanwhile, Stuart Crawford is not ruling out a crack at the Ryanair Chase with Fine Rightly after his good effort in the Irish Gold Cup at the weekend.

The eight-year-old defied his starting price of 33/1 to finish third behind Carlingford Lough, justifying Crawford's decision to run.

He is not in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and could skip the meeting altogether, but Crawford is pleased he at least has the option.

"I was absolutely delighted with him, it shows we were right to run and he's come out of it well," said the Larne-based handler.

"That was his first step into Grade One company and his first run at three miles, so there's more to come. He'll have learned a lot from that - I was over the moon really."

Assessing plans, Crawford went on: "I imagine the handicaps are gone now, but they all but were before as there's usually something that has been plotted at the big ones all season to beat those with big weights.

"We'll keep him in that company now, but he's ground dependent - he needs a bit of dig. He's in the Ryanair and I'd have no trouble about running over that trip on a championship course as long as the ground was right.

"We'll just play it by ear, there are a couple of options in Ireland or we could just give him an easy month to make sure we have a fresh horse for Punchestown.

"I think he's got enough pace for a lot of those graded races over two miles in deep ground in Ireland, but ultimately he's a stayer."

Tomorrow's scheduled meeting at Limerick's meeting has been cancelled due to a waterlogged track. The going was already described as soft to heavy with heavy patches, but with more rain forecast an early decision has been taken after a course inspection.

Across the water, heavy rain has forced Ludlow to call an inspection this morning ahead of tomorrow's fixture.

Irish Independent

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