BEER GOGGLES will bid to carry the home down at Cheltenham on Saturday within the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle.
The progressive seven-year-old, winner of the Lengthy Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his final begin, will run simply days after the unhappy loss of life of his coach Richard Woollacott on the age of 40.
Operating beneath the title of his spouse Kayley, a win for Beer Goggles within the Grade 2 hurdle would undoubtedly show an emotional and widespread victory at Prestbury Park.
The choice to take up his entry was left solely to Woollacott’s household, with part-owner Nicky Martin joyful to go together with no matter consequence was reached.
“Clearly it should be very emotional,” mentioned Martin.
“What we did was communicate to the household and we left the choice completely to them, we had been fairly joyful to not run so it was right down to them.
“It’ll be an extremely unhappy day regardless of the consequence. Richard did plenty of work with the horse, and I am certain he’d have needed him to run.
“We have seen and heard the quantity of goodwill behind the horse tomorrow.
“He is such a stunning little horse, Newbury was unbelievable, to beat horses like Unowhatimeanharry and Thistlecrack. The principle factor is that he comes house safely.
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“Richard was a personal friend, we go back a long way through point-to-pointing so it’s been a very traumatic week.”
Beer Goggles lines up as the highest-rated runner and is looking to cement his Stayers’ Hurdle claims.
Colin Tizzard’s Finian’s Oscar is an intriguing runner in the race on his return to hurdles after an indifferent novice chasing campaign.
A leading novice hurdler last season, injury meant he missed the Festival but he won at Aintree and was second at Punchestown.
“He’s really well and this looks a nice race for him back over hurdles,” said Tizzard’s son and assistant, Joe.
“There still might be an opportunity to go chasing with him this season, but right now we just want to test the waters back over hurdles.
“The World Hurdle (Stayers’ Hurdle) is the plan for him at the moment.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Wholestone sets the standard, as bar one poor run behind Beer Goggles at Newbury, he usually runs his race and put that effort behind him when winning the Relkeel Hurdle last time out.
Templegate’s TV Tips
Cheltenham 1.50 – Bally Longford: ‘First chance in Britain at his preferred trip’ (add to your betslip)
Doncaster 2.05 – Calett Mad: ‘Not a strong contest and I’m expecting to see his true colours today’ (add to your betslip)
Cheltenham 2.25 – Bristol De Mai: ‘I expect him to get back on course for the Gold Cup today’ (add to your betslip)
Doncaster 2.40 – Maria’s Benefit: ‘Could not have been more impressive when rattling up four wins on the trot’ (add to your betslip)
Cheltenham 3.00 – Slate House: ‘There was a lot to like about his two wins at this course earlier in the season’ (add to your betslip)
Doncaster 3.15 – Label Des Obeaux: ‘Was a smart novice last year and on that form he has a chance’ (add to your betslip)
Cheltenham 3.35 – The Worlds End: ‘He was probably the best novice over this trip last season and he should be spot on for today’ (add to your betslip)
“Nothing came to light after Newbury and he was right back to his best last time,” said Twiston-Davies.
“It was just one bad run, a bad day at the office, everyone is allowed one of those.
“Other than Newbury he has been the most consistent horse so I can forgive him one bad run and last time he was very good.”
Ellmarie Holden will be hoping for a less eventful run from Ex Patriot than on his last visit to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle when he got loose before the race but still finished fourth.
“It was a long journey over, but he’s been out on the track and seems fine,” said Holden.
“He ran twice in four days over Christmas, winning at Limerick and then finishing second to Killultagh Vic at Punchestown.
“He’s improving with each race, he’s only five and is slowly getting there. Hopefully he’ll run well.”
The Nick Williams-trained Agrapart finished second behind Wholestone at this course on New Year’s Day.
His assistant trainer Jane Williams said: “Agrapart loves Cheltenham and his two career-best runs have come in the Relkeel Hurdle – he won it the first year and was second this year.
“The ground is soft, which he loves, and the step up to three miles should not be a problem.”
Nicky Henderson’s Thomas Campbell and Tom George’s The Worlds End add further strength in depth, along with Fergal O’Brien’s mare, Colin’s Sister.