Sunday 19 November 2017

Rebel Fitz for Cheltenham if he comes up trumps at Galway

Rebel Fitz, with Barry Geraghty in the saddle
Rebel Fitz, with Barry Geraghty in the saddle

Ashley Iveson

Trainer Mick Winters will consider an autumn trip to Cheltenham if Rebel Fitz can secure a fourth victory over fences at Galway on Tuesday.

Last year's Galway Hurdle winner struck at the Ballybrit Festival for the second time last month as he completed a chase hat-trick in fine style in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Rebel Fitz has yet to race outside of Ireland, but Winters is keen on a possible run at Cheltenham later this year with a view to returning for the Festival next March.

The County Cork handler said: "He seems in great form and hopefully all goes well and he comes back from the race safe and sound.

"They've had a drop of rain in Galway and the ground should be fine.

"He won't be having a break just yet as he's very well in himself. If all goes well then we might think about travelling to England with him to run at Cheltenham in either October or November.

"He hasn't been a great traveller in the past, but he's eight, coming nine, now and hopefully won't fret about things as much as he used to.

"We'll probably take him over 10 days before he runs and if all goes well then, we can think about maybe going back next March.

"The owner would love a trip across the water, so we might as well give it a go in October or November as he'd be having a little break after that anyway."

Rebel Fitz faces six rivals in the Deacy Gilligan Novice Chase, including three recent winners in Lord Ben, Saint Gervais and Shadow Eile.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins could be in for a good evening, with Vicky De L'Oasis, Indevan and Shesafoxylady each appearing to have leading claims in their respective races.

Shesafoxylady ran a fine third on her bumper debut at the Galway Festival and is likely to be a warm order for the Jamie Kyne Memorial Mares INH Flat Race.

Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners Supreme Racing, said: "I think she has a cracking chance.

"She ran a blinder on ground she hated on her debut. The ground should be much better for her this time.

"You never know what the newcomers are like in these races, but hopefully she'll be bang there at the finish."

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