Cheltenham Preview: Graded Hurdle Contenders

March 2, 2018 News
LESS than two weeks to go until the start of the Cheltenham Festival and the excitement is building with every passing day. This week we have been speaking to connections of some of the leading contenders for the graded hurdle races at this year’s meeting…
Jockey Barry Geraghty on Buveur D’Air
PRICE: 1-2
Everyone is excited about Buveur D’Air. How did he feel to you last weekend?
He seems in good form. He worked really nicely when he had a racecourse gallop at Kempton over the weekend. So fingers crossed all things are good at the minute.
What are his main attributes?
He’s a very good hurdler coupled with having lots of ability. He’s very good at his hurdles and wastes no time at them.
Which of his potential opponents are you most concerned about?
Faugheen. If he recaptures his old form he’s the one we’d have to beat because he was so good.
And, finally, what would winning the Champion Hurdle again feel like?
It would be brilliant. I missed the race last year and it would make up for that massively, and it would be a terrific way to start the week as well.
Trainer Jedd O’Keeffe on Sam Spinner
PRICE: 4-1
We haven’t seen Sam Spinner since December. How are things with him?
He’s brilliant. The programme for his build up to Cheltenham is going absolutely perfectly. We’re 100 per cent happy with him.
What are his main attributes?
Stamina and being very genuine and competitive. He wants to win and to please and he’s a relentless galloper.
Which of his potential opponents are you most concerned about?
The ones I’m most frightened of are Yanworth, who’s a proven Grade 1 performer, and Supasundae, who’s very progressive and classy. There are others who are frightening too, but their stamina isn’t proven. I’m thinking of the likes of The New One with that.
And, finally, what would winning the Stayers’ Hurdle feel like?
It would be unbelievable. We don’t dare to dream about it! It would be so good for my family, for his owners Paul and Caron Chapman, for the staff, the jockeys, for everyone connected. It’s so exciting to have a horse in this position.
Trainer Martin Keighley on Brillare Momento
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TARGET: David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
PRICE: 20-1
Brillare Moment was a good winner last time. How has she been since then?
She’s in great shape and she loves Cheltenham. She won a Listed race there last season and at the first meeting this season. She goes there full of confidence after her Towcester success.
What are her main attributes?
She’s very tough and her love of the track is so helpful. She loves good ground and it’d be great if it dries out before the Festival. She’s improving fast too and can run a big race.
Which of her potential opponents are you most concerned about?
We’re worried about Apple’s Jade, you’d have to be. But you cannot be afraid to take on one horse, although we’re also in the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle as alternatives if we need to go elsewhere.
And, finally, what would winning at the Cheltenham Festival feel like?
It would be so fantastic. We had the joy of Any Currency winning there only to have it taken away from us. That’s just made me keener to feel it again, and as my first boss was David Nicholson it would mean a lot to win the Mares’ Hurdle named after him.