Monday 10 December 2018

Morris keeps options open for 'Alpha' with Cotswold entry

Mouse Morris. Photo: Sportsfile
Mouse Morris. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Mouse Morris has given Alpha Des Obeaux an entry in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Grade Two-winning eight-year-old is also engaged at Thurles on Thursday but might yet cross the Irish Sea in pursuit of big-race honours.

Alpha Des Obeaux was last seen finishing sixth in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, having previously competed in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree in December.

Bristol De Mai has also been entered in the Cotswold Chase, which has lured 10 possible runners.

A traditional tune-up for the Gold Cup in March, Nigel Twiston-Davies will be hoping for testing ground to allow the Betfair Chase winner to show his best form after his disappointing run in the King George.

Bristol De Mai has since been treated for stomach ulcers but Anthony Bromley, racing manager for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "The intention at this moment is to run at Cheltenham on Saturday."

Another horse looking to bounce back is 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree, which has failed to complete in two outings this season, in the Charlie Hall and Ladbrokes Trophy. He has undergone a wind operation since running at Newbury.

Harry Fry's American is also on a retrieval mission after disappointing in the Ladbrokes Trophy, having been ante-post favourite for that for months.

Kim Bailey is keen to see how The Last Samuri gets on outside handicap company, while Tea For Two could run for the in-form Nick Williams.

Tom George has entered Singlefarmpayment rather than King George runner-up Double Shuffle.

"We've put him in the handicap as well but he loves Cheltenham and soft ground so we're considering letting him take his chance," said the Slad handler.

"Unfortunately, he fell in the Ladbrokes Trophy and ran only OK at Ascot last time. I think we need to change tactics with him.

"He's very similar to Double Shuffle in that as a young horse you had to drop him out and teach him to settle but now he does settle I think we can be more positive on him.


"I think what happened at Ascot was he got a bit sick being behind horses."

Colin Tizzard could saddle Theatre Guide, which has run in the race twice before, while plans remain fluid for Fergal O'Brien's Cheltenham specialist Perfect Candidate, which was disappointing at Sandown on his most recent outing.

O'Brien said: "It's up in the air at the moment as to whether Perfect Candidate runs at Cheltenham.

"We might wait another week and then head to Exeter.

"I will discuss things with Paddy (Brennan) and the owners before making a final decision later on in the week."

Brian Ellison's Definitly Red has the choice of Cheltenham or Doncaster this weekend.

Whisper had been prominent in the ante-post betting lists, but Nicky Henderson expressed concerns about the possibility of testing ground and has not given him the option to run.

Patriot is the sole entry from Ireland for the Cleeve Hurdle. Trained by Ellmarie Holden, the five-year-old ran twice in quick succession over the Christmas period, winning in style at Limerick before chasing home the classy Killultagh Vic at Punchestown.

Long Distance Hurdle hero Beer Goggles is one of 11 possible runners in the Cleeve, while Finian's Oscar is set to revert to the smaller obstacles after defeat on his last two starts over fences.

Henderson has entered Thomas Campbell and L'Ami Serge, which also holds entries over fences this weekend.

Wholestone, The Worlds End, Colin's Sister, Agrapart, Court Minstrel and Saint Are are also in the mix, but Lil Rockerfeller has not been entered.

Neil King will give his stable star more time to recover from his slightly disappointing run in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month.

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