Saturday 21 April 2018

Punchestown plan for Zemsky

Zemsky is set to bid for a Festival double, with the Champion Hunter Chase at Punchestown on May 4 his next target.

Ian Ferguson's charge sprang a 33-1 surprise when he landed the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month and connections are hoping he can strike again.

The eight-year-old, who is in his first season in this sphere after beginning his career under Rules with Nicky Henderson, could also head to Stratford on on May 27 for their £25,000 Foxhunters Champion Hunters' Chase.

"Punchestown is the plan at the moment and there's plenty of time to go on to Stratford if we want to after that," said Ferguson.

"There's a lot of prize-money on offer at both tracks and the plan would be to go for both, but either/or is fine too as he has nothing to prove to us.

"If the ground were to come up soft at either venue, he wouldn't run as we know he just doesn't operate on soft or heavy ground. It's unlikely to be soft at either, but strange things can happen with the weather.

"If he runs again then that's great, but he's only young by hunter chase standards and he owes us nothing.

"I wasn't tempted by Aintree at all as I just don't see him as that kind of horse, he would need more than two miles and five furlongs around there."

Zemsky's triumph at Prestbury Park proved more than adequate consolation after Ferguson hit the bar when Joe Blake made the frame in 2002 and 2006.

Ferguson now hopes Zemsky can return to defend his title next term.

"It was a great day at Cheltenham. I've been in point-to-pointing all my life and we had some near-misses with Joe Blake there," he added.

"The plan would hopefully be to go back there again with him (Zemsky) next year as it's the place where everyone wants to go.

"Now we've found his level, we just need to keep him fit and happy."

Press Association

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