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Friday, January 22, 2010


Meeting: Festival Trials Day
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Gates Open: 11am
First Race: 12.55pm
Admission prices from £10. Accompanied children aged under 18 are admitted FREE of charge, while FREE parking is available.

Go to www.cheltenham.co.uk for further information

Robin Dickin is dreaming of big race glory with the exciting Restless Harry, who is primed for a Festival prep in the £27,000 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (3.10pm), run over an extended two and a half miles at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 30.

The lightly-raced six-year-old, purchased at Brightwells’ Cheltenham Sale last April after winning a point-to-point for Polly Gundry, was a valiant half-length runner-up in the Grade One Challow Novices’ Hurdle over two miles, five furlongs at Newbury on December 29. That effort followed a fine first victory at Towcester on November 28.

Dickin, who enjoyed some of his most notable successes with Kadastrof in the late 1990s, revealed: “Restless Harry will be going to Cheltenham for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle. He’s absolutely fine and hasn’t missed a beat since Newbury, despite the weather. He’s very well.”

Restless Harry was sent off a 40/1 outsider at Newbury and had repelled the hot favourite, Finnian’s Rainbow, only to be mugged near the line by the well-supported second-favourite, Reve De Sivola.

Dickin continued: “I was thrilled with him in the Challow. It was a particular surprise because he wasn’t well prepared for that run. We had been held up with ice and frost. He’s not a horse that needs a lot of work but we weren’t able to turn out, which is something we do a lot, and with the worry of tying up, he had been cut back on his food and on his work. That meant that he went to Newbury with very little protein in him. He could be far better prepared for a race than he was that day.

“Henry (Oliver) lobbed along in front most of the way and that was the plan. We have always ridden him handy. He doesn’t have to make it but if he’s not up there handy and travelling with ease, then they’re probably going too quick anyway.”

Having endured lean times in the past few seasons, Dickin is clearly excited by the new star of his Alscot Park Stables near Stratford-On-Avon.

The Warwickshire handler commented: “I’m going to sound bullish now but I might have a nice horse on my hands, so I can be a little bit bullish. I haven’t even run him at the right trip yet - just wait until he goes three miles. He is a very exciting horse and we’re thrilled to bits to have him. A horse like this can make the difference. I thought I would never have another horse as good as Kadastrof and I just might have.

“He’s only a pony in size but he has a huge heart and he’s a very good jumper. You need to get inside his head and I ride him out a lot myself, but he’s a lovely horse with a lovely owner. Richard Whitehead is very loyal to his jockey and loyal to me. It’s nice to have a good one for him.

“I think the horse is an out and out stayer. Good to soft and softer would be ideal - one thing that will play into his hands next week will be very soft ground. I would never make the mistake of running him on quick ground again, like I did at Market Rasen in the summer. He had an horrendous journey to the course that day and that was his only blip run. He sweated badly and had run three races before he reached the start.

“He lives up to his name and actually has a mirror in his box to stop him box walking. We also turn him out a lot, which helps, and we do a lot of things to meet his needs because he really is a restless Harry.

“I would hope to run him at The Festival in March. If he were to run badly on Festival Trials Day, I would assume he had a problem. He is very versatile track-wise, he ran a blinder in that high-class race at Newbury and showed tenacity when winning very easily up the hill at Towcester.”

Festival Trials Day is the last chance to go racing at Cheltenham prior to the Festival, which runs for four days from Tuesday, March 16 to Friday, March 19.

The feature race on the fantastic seven-race card is the £100,000 Grade Two Argento Chase (2.35pm) over an extended three miles and a furlong, which is often a good guide to the Grade One totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival itself.

Further Graded races on the programme are the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Cleeve Hurdle (3.45pm) over three miles, the £50,000 Grade Three Betfair Trophy Chase (2.05pm) over two miles, five furlongs and the £27,000 Grade Two Betfair Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (12.55pm) over two miles and a furlong, which invariably provides clues to the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle.

The £22,500 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.30pm) over two miles, five furlongs, and the £18,000 Stellar Football Handicap Hurdle (4.20pm) run over two miles and a furlong, complete the card.

After racing on Festival Trials Day the Brightwells Cheltenham January Sale will take place, commencing at 5.30pm in The Centaur.

Included in the catalogue is Forty Foot Tom, an impressive 24-length winner of a bumper at Navan on December 19 and currently prominent in the market for the Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival on March 17.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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