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After finishing second in last year’s Triumph Hurdle, Adagio is being primed for a tilt at the Champion Hurdle. 

The 5-year-old had wind surgery prior to his return in the Greatwood Hurdle back in November, but was a valiant runner up that day with the burden of top weight - only touched off half a length by the well handicapped, West Cork. 

The form of that race has worked out well with several next time winners in behind, including Betfair Hurdle winner Glory and Fortune and dual scorer since Marie’s Rock. 

Trainer, David Pipe recognised that performance and also shed light on why Adagio has only appeared once since, he said: “He ran well in the Greatwood then picked up a small injury, so he would’ve improved for Wincanton.”

As Pipe mentioned Adagio did improve for Wincanton, but just held by the inform Goshen. Pipe reported he has come out of the race well and all systems are go for The Festival, He said: “Yeah, that’s the plan (Champion Hurdle). He deserves to take his chance.

“He jumps, he travels - he’s got a few pounds to find obviously. If you take Honeysuckle out the race it is an open Champion Hurdle. You don’t often get the opportunity to run in Champion Hurdle, so the owners are keen on him taking his chance, you never know.”

Other potential Cheltenham runners

Brinkley 

Brinkley got off the mark over fences at Huntingdon in December but failed to follow up at Chepstow. 

Now, the plan could be to go back over hurdles with the seven-year-old as he is entered in Saturday’s Pertemps Hurdle series qualifier at Chepstow. 

Pipe Said: “He was disappointing in his second chase and his jumping has not been up to scratch at home. We thought we’d give him a run over hurdles - we’ll see what happens on Saturday.” 

Perhaps more testing conditions will be required to be seriously considered for Cheltenham, Pipe revealed: “To see him at his best he needs soft ground. He performs better on soft ground, he handles it probably better than other horses.” 

The Brocade racing talent was only 12th in last year’s Pertemps Network final and needs to finish 6th or better on Saturday to punch his ticket to the Festival. 

Remastered 

Another part of the Brocade Racing group is the classy chaser Remastered. The 9-year-old has been mixing fences and hurdling this season after wins in two novice chases last term. 

Remastered has hit the frame in some of the top chases this season. He was holding every chance before falling 4 out in the Ladbrokes Trophy, and has ran respectably at Haydock twice - 2nd in the Tommy Whittle and 4th in the Peter Marsh. 

After these hard thought races, Pipe is unsure whether Remastered will make the trip to Prestbury Park, He said: “The season has not quite panned out as we’d hoped, he’s had a wind op since his last run.

Earlier this season, Remastered was third in a Pertemps Series qualifier at Aintree and the series final is the only race he has been entered in at the festival. 

Pipe said: “He ran really well over hurdles at Aintree. He’s another one that probably prefers a cut in the ground but it’s there as an option (Pertemps final) - whether he goes or not I don't know at this present moment.”

Gericault Roque 

Options remain open for young progressive chaser Gericault Roque, who hold entries in the Ultima, Kim Muir and The Midlands National. 

A proven stayer, the six-year-old looks to have big chances whatever race is declared for off a rating of 133. Pipe said: “He will take up one of those engagements - of those three I’m not sure which one at this present moment.”

Pipe continued: “He’s had a good season and he is only six-years-old. He’ll probably just have one more run this season, if he was to win one of those three races fantastic, if not he’ll remain a novice next season.” 

Notable Cheltenham Festival Absentees 

Main Fact won nine races in a row over both codes last season but has not been since pulling up in the Stayers Hurdle at the festival last year. 

“He’s fine, He’s had to have the season off, He’ll be back again October time later on this year. It’s the second time he’s had a tendon injury so we will see what happens and we will try and get him back later on in the year.”

Veteran’s aim next season for Ramses De Teillee.

“He’s finished for the season now. He’s had numerous wind operations and he’ll have to have another one in the summer. He’ll come back and probably be aimed towards the Veterans final at Sandown.”

The future is uncertain for consistent handicapper Leoncavallo

“Unfortunately, Leoncavallo has picked up a slight injury, so he’s out for the rest of the season. Whether he comes back again or not I don’t know, that’s down to the owners.” 

Dual Hurdle winner Kingofthewest will skip Cheltenham and instead have a different target in the Spring.

“He won't go to Cheltenham - he’ll go to the EBF Final at Sandown at the end of the season.”


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