Wednesday 17 January 2018

McConnell could return to Cheltenham with Orgilgo

Trainer John McConnell
Trainer John McConnell
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

John McConnell is considering an ambitious tilt at the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November for his runaway Listowel hero Orgilgo Bay.

The versatile front-runner secured McConnell's upwardly mobile Co Meath stable its most valuable triumph when claiming the near €30,000 winner's prize in the Lartigue Hurdle under Kevin Sexton.

Having finished a gallant third in the Fred Winter Hurdle at Cheltenham last March, Orgilgo Bay is a progressive four-year-old that knows its way around Prestbury Park.

"He has come out of Listowel well and took the race fine," McConnell said yesterday of his stable star.

"The Greatwood at Cheltenham in November is an obvious race he could go for, but we might even go for something a little less ambitious and then let him off and bring him back for the spring. We have no immediate specific plans yet. There are a number of handicap hurdles to look at before Christmas. He will probably have one more run and have a break then.

"He was put up eight pounds for winning at Listowel, which seems about right; he won well, but it was against his own age group. Hopefully, he can keep improving.

"We thought he wanted soft ground when he was a baby but as he has got older he seems to handle better ground really well, and we'd nearly be staying away from soft ground at this point."

McConnell's Meath neighbour Gordon Elliott continued his love affair with Perth yesterday when Moss Street justified 2/1 favouritism under AP McCoy in the claimer, before the Jason Maguire-ridden Raajih (7/1) readily doubled up in the three-mile chase for a second year in a row. Elliott has eight declarations at the Scottish venue today, with six Irish trainers responsible for a 14-strong delegation.

Moss Street is engaged once again, this time in the novices' chase.

Irish Independent

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