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Press Release 27th January 2024 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

A year ago, Stage Star carried 12 stone to success in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m4½f) on Festival Trials Day for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden and the same trainer-jockey combination were on top again in 2024 with Ginny’s Destiny (4-1 Favourite) also defying top-weight in the same contest.


Following up on successes at The November and Christmas meetings at Cheltenham, the eight-year-old put up another bold front-running performance to win by two and three quarter lengths from the staying-on Theatre Man



Stage Star followed up on his success last by going on to win the Grade One Turners Novices’ Chase at The Festival and trainer Paul Nicholls outlined the same plan for Ginny’s Destiny.


Nicholls said: “I was expecting that on his homework as he has improved massively from run to run. I’ve not had too many improve that much over a short period since Master Minded funnily enough.


“When Master Minded won that handicap at Sandown he then kept going forward and he has been doing the same. His work has been unbelievable, and I think he is a really smart horse.


“He wasn’t ready the first time we run him as he was too fat, but we had to start him somewhere.


“He has just got better, and he is a very smart work horse at home. He has got class, and he jumps.


“He will come back here for the Turners. Stage Star had that weight in the race last year and if they are good enough off that mark it doesn’t matter what weight they carry. He is a massive horse and that (weight) was never going to be a worry.


“Harry (Cobden) gave him a peach of a ride. I honestly thought he would win today, and I know that is being confident, but he is a very smart horse. There are not many horses that improve like he has.”


Gordon Hall, joint owner, added: “He was always a big horse and we have had to give him plenty of time. What we have tried to do is leave him to grow into his frame as he is a big unit. The beauty of him is his jumping as he doesn’t touch them. It is a big asset to have around big tracks on big days when you are going up and down hill.


“I was concerned that somebody that was 10st 4lbs would just edge us. Harry (Cobden) has got off, and he is the man in charge, and he has said there is plenty more in the tank, and we didn’t even really ask him.


“He has not been overused. He had four runs over hurdles and won one of his two bumper starts and that is only his fourth chase start.


“He is possibly the best horse we have had. We have got some babies coming through and we have got a nice one in France called Le Chiffre D’Or. He is up there with all of them.


“It is nice to come here as it is Jump racing’s headquarters and to have three winners on the trot with him here is lovely.


“We have never had a Festival runner so it would be great to have one and we will have a go with him.”


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