Saturday 16 December 2017

Hobbs' Pateese confirmed for Greatwood run

ANTE-post favourite Pateese, an emphatic winner at Sandown over the weekend, is among 26 horses confirmed for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday.

The six-year-old picked up a 5lb penalty for Saturday's win and, with the weights going up 14lb after the latest acceptance stage, he is now on 10st 9lb. His trainer, Philip Hobbs, has claimed this race three times in recent years with Rooster Booster (2002), Detroit City (2006) and Menorah (2010).

Heading the weights now on 11st 12lbs are the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire and Topolski from David Arbuthnot's stable.

Other notable entries include Paul Flynn's Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice, Charles Byrnes' Jack Cool and Inspector Clouseau from Willie Mullins' yard.

Meanwhile, top-class staying hurdler Grands Crus is set to make his eagerly anticipated debut over fences at Cheltenham on Friday.

David Pipe's grey completed a hat-trick of victories with an awesome display in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January, before coming up short against legendary stayer Big Buck's at the Festival in March.

He disappointed when running in France in June, but he has been freshened up since and Pipe is looking forward to seeing his star turn line up in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase, for which Cue Card also holds an entry.

Another exciting novice chaser, Australia Day, bids to secure his second victory from three starts over fences at Huntingdon today.

The 150-rated hurdler produced some spectacular leaps when winning at Kempton last time, and trainer Paul Webber is hoping he can continue in the same vein.

"It's another good opportunity for him but we certainly won't be underestimating Megastar," Webber said. "I wouldn't want the ground to get any wetter as we know he likes a decent surface and we'll see how we get on."

Irish Independent

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