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Press Release 12th November 2023 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

Wild scenes could be witnessed in the hallowed winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham on Saturday (November 18th) after former Premier League star Alan Rogers insisted there would be ‘some celebration’ should Notlongtillmay find the back of the net in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

The now-retired former Leicester City and Nottingham Forest player hopes his silks will be carried to their biggest success by the Laura Morgan-trained seven-year-old in the two and a half mile £160,000 Premier Handicap Chase on day two of The November Meeting.

And having celebrated Notlongtillmay’s second place finish in the Grade One Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March like a winner, the father of three from Aughton has vowed to light up one of Jump racing’s most famous venues if tasting victory next weekend. 

Rogers said: “I had an amazing time with Notlongtillmay at The Festival in March as I took my dad down, my father-in-law and one of my uncles, who is keen on his racing, and a couple of mates. 

“We had a really good day and if you would have seen us in the parade ring you would have thought that we won the race. We came second in a big race at Cheltenham and for a small owner that is what dreams are made of. 

“I’ve got a bit of a reputation in the old football world for being a bit crazy and there would certainly be some celebration if Notlongtillmay won the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, I can tell you that for nothing.”

Not only would victory for the Malinas gelding mean plenty on a personal note for Rogers, who also had spells playing for Tranmere Rovers and Hull City on the football pitch, but he insists it would be a just reward for the hard work put in by Waltham on the Wolds handler Morgan and her team. 

Rogers said: “I’m in the hands of probably the best up and coming trainer in the country. I’ve had a lot of issues with horses and injuries over the years but since moving to Laura I’ve had a good deal of success. She is absolutely phenomenal. 

“She is a good, honest, hard-working girl. Personally, I wouldn’t put the horses with anyone else. 

“When you go to the yard the horses are treated more like pets and I’m a big animal lover. One of the main things for me is that they are treated right. 

“When you go to Laura’s the horses are not just a number and that is one of the reasons why I moved the horses there.

“It would be amazing if he could get the job done and win here, but more so for Laura as she does deserve a big race win and they will come I’ve no doubt about that.”

While the wider racing public are only just starting to see the talents of Notlongtillmay develop on the track Rogers, who aside from his interests in owning racehorses is a cryptocurrency trader, insists he knew from early on the potential talent he had on his hands. 

However, while the 46-year-old is now able to get excited about what lies ahead for Notlongtillmay he admits he thought his journey was over following his debut over hurdles at Haydock Park in December 2021. 

Rogers added: “I remember his first run in a bumper with Chris Gordon who said we are just going to educate him today. 

“He flew home that day though and it was then I thought he must have some tank on him if he pulled for two miles to then finish like that.

“When he ran at Haydock the season before last I thought I was going to have to retire him. He travelled like a dream, and I thought he was going to win the race by any amount then he just stopped and he had a bit of a setback. 

“I was devastated, but fair play to Chris Gordon as he got him back.

“I’ve had a few nice mares like Gentle Jolie, that unfortunately had setbacks, but I think this lad stands out on his own and he is a special horse. 

“Laura thinks he has quite a bit of improvement in him so let’s hope we can see that in him this season.”

Although Notlongtillmay could only finish fourth dropped back to two miles on his comeback at Cheltenham last month it was a run that caught the eye of many watching including his enthusiastic owner. 

He added: “Everything we have asked him to do he has always done really well. He was only beaten just over three lengths in the Turners at the Cheltenham Festival and I felt if he was a bit more experienced he might have been closer.

“I thought his run on his comeback at Cheltenham was exceptional carrying 12 stone after a long layoff over a trip that was too short for him. I think that will put him bang on for this race.

“I felt about three out he got a bit outpaced, but then I was really encouraged how he came to the last and powered on. 

“My background in football will tell you no matter what you do pre-season it is games that will get you fit and I think it is similar with horses. That race will bring him on a ton now.

“We threw him in the deep end in the Turners and he came up trumps in my opinion even though he didn’t win. 

“He is still only a young horse and anything he does this season I will be delighted with.”

Sponsor Paddy Power make Notlongtillmay an 8-1 chance for glory next Saturday.

Rogers might now be more involved in racehorses rather than football clubs, however he still keeps tabs on the sport he made his name in through his eldest son Jack, who is currently playing for the Burnley U-18 team having signed a two-year scholarship with the Premier League outfit last year.  

And having established himself as an integral part of the Clarets U-18 side, along with making a few appearances for their U-21 team, Rogers believes he has the talent to follow in his footsteps. 

He said: “Jack is totally different to me as he is a big, tall good-looking kid that plays centre midfield. He is doing really well, and he has got a chance of making it. 

“I often jokingly remind him that I got sold for two million pounds near the start of my career and that I made my first team debut as a teenager, but he does his own thing and there is no pressure from me.

“Fingers crossed he can have a career on the pitch like mine then step into the racing as well.”


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