Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Press Release 27th February 2024 Cheltenham

With The Cheltenham Festival now just a fortnight away, a selection of leading trainers laid out their plans for the four-day spectacular at a media event today hosted by The Jockey Club at the famous racing pub, The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power.


Please find their thoughts, along with the latest going news from Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, Jon Pullin, below…



Ben Pauling

“I think Bowtogreatness might get into the Kim Muir. He ran well on Saturday and is a horse that takes a lot of getting fit – I haven’t been hard on him and I think he might finally be ready now.


“He’s also in the National Hunt Chase and I know he’ll stay the 3m 6f. We’ll see how it looks in terms getting into the Kim Muir before deciding.


Twig definitely goes in the Ultima. He needs good to soft at worse and if we get the predicted ground then Shakem Up'Arry will go for the Plate, which he was third in last year.


Harper’s Brook goes for the Grand Annual and could possibly wear blinkers. He is a talented horse.


Henry's Friend has come bouncing out the Reynoldstown (Novices’ Chase) and I’d say he is now likely to go for the National Hunt Chase.


Tellherthename went to Kempton this morning (for a racecourse gallop) and did everything I hoped and he will go for the Supreme.


“I think the owners have come round to running Handstands in the Baring Bingham. He’s hopefully an improving horse – I think it is a case of whether he is ready for a race like this.


“The Jukebox Man hasn’t run since the Challow but is in good form again now and goes for the Albert Bartlett.


“Kielan Woods is back on Thursday. He will ride all the horses owned by the Megsons as they have a great relationship and for the other horses riding plans are undecided.”



Jamie Snowden

“I’d like to go for the Grand Annual with Hardy Du Seuil. He ran at Sandown last time and if he gets in he’d have a right chance.


“I didn’t put Ga Law in the Ryanair Chase as it closed before he won on Trials Day. He finished fifth in the Ryanair last season and is now definitely back to his best.


“He worked brilliantly this morning and we are thinking of supplementing him for the Ryanair Chase. We would have to give away lumps of weight in the Plate and you really want seven or eight pounds in hand to win a race like that.


You Wear It Well won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last year but has had a slightly frustrating season with abandoned races interrupting her preparation. We’ll see – we might wait to Sandown at the end of the season.


“I’d like to run Git Maker in the Kim Muir. He looks unexposed off 132 and both he and Hardy Du Seuil should have right chances if they get in.


Colonel Harry might go for the Turners if it rains.”



AJ O’Neill, Assistant Trainer to and son of Jonjo O’Neill


Monbeg Genius goes for the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday and if he comes out of that well he could take in the Ultima at The Festival before going to the Grand National. The way he ran in the Ultima last year, you’d think he is open to further improvement.


Crebilly crumpled on landing when he fell on debut and then wasn’t fluent the next time at Cheltenham. When he won at Exeter the other day, that was more like what we’d been expecting on his first two runs. He goes for the Plate and hopefully can run well. We are happy with him.


Springwell Bay could start in the Pertemps while Anyharminasking goes to the Morebattle at Kelso this weekend and we will see after that.”



Willy Twiston-Davies, Assistant Train to and son of Nigel Twiston-Davies


Asked which of those he and his father would be most excited about for Festival week, he said: “Weveallbeencaught and Cuthbert Dibble I’d imagine.


“Cuthbert Dibble ran very well at Haydock last week after a quick return from a lay-off off 139 and there’s no reason that he couldn’t be a graded horse in time so hopefully he’d be one.


“Weveallbeencaught’s first two chase runs were very good, he then had a fibrillating heart in the handicap which was very disappointing but has been put right and in the last couple of weeks he’s really begun to shine and gave Dad a big smile this morning.


“His schooling’s been very good and Sam was really, really pleased with his work on Friday. Off 134 you’d like to think he’s pretty well handicapped. He’s got a big away today tomorrow, him and Broadway Boy so if they pass their tests they can go on to Cheltenham.


“Broadway Boy has got a couple of entries – in the 3m 6f amateur chase in which he’s actually the top rated on Racing Post ratings but as it’s been pointed out the Brown Advisory could easily cut up. He was wrong at Warwick, he had ulcers after and he also scoped dirty and we’ve had a long, long time to get him right for this and his work this morning was very, very pleasing. I wouldn’t be too worried about the English challengers, it’s just what Willie Mullins has got.


Master Chewy is very good. He worked nicely this morning. Him and Matata will both run in the Arkle, more than likely. Master Chewy has done nothing wrong - he nearly got brought down at Lingfield in the Lightning (Novices’ Chase) which JPR One won. I think he would have gone very close there because he had a penalty as well. Also Matata ran very well and ran a very nice race in that. I think he jumped slightly left, but the track (Cheltenham) will suit him well. He can get on the front end and can be quite dangerous. I think they both have squeaks but obviously we’ve got to beat the Irish.”


Les Loyautes was spotted by David Scully who works for Peter Maloney. He pointed her out as a possible Boodles (Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) horse. I think she’ll probably run in the Boodles but the main aim will be the April meeting (Randox Grand National Meeting at Aintree). There’s a Grade 3, fillies only, four-year-old handicap and she could get black type there.


“We’ve been taking it very slowly with her. She’ll do a good bit on Friday. Jordan Nailor did a bit with her this morning and I thought she worked quite nicely. I think 122 is a nice mark but as I say her main aim will be the April meeting.


“Sam got off Gowel Road at Exeter the last day and said he didn’t feel anywhere near as good as he can be. His run behind Crambo at Haydock was actually very good – he wasn’t beaten far after a long lay-off. We’ve done some bits of tweaking and I think he could run a massive race if it’s soft ground and off that mark is very, very reasonable. He went nicely this morning and looks like he’s coming to the boil at the right time.”


Idalko Bihoue: “He’s entered but I’m not sure where we’ll go with him yet. He shows moments of brilliance but then goes off the boil a little bit - but at the minute he looks like he’s back to his old self. His winning October form – he looks like he’s back to there.


Undersupervision might run in the Kim Muir if he gets in and if Weveallbeencaught goes for the Ultima – it depends on how we play our cards.”


Asked if Guard Your Dreams might now run in the Unibet Champion Hurdle after news of Constitution Hill’s racecourse gallop had filtered through to the media event, Willy laughed: “Well we might do now!


“Tom Bellamy is under the impression that he wants to go up in trip now but he’s in the County, the Coral and the Champion Hurdle. We’ve got very patient owners who won’t force our hand.”





Jon Pullin, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, said today: “We have had a very wet build-up this year. Thankfully the rain held off over the weekend and that was the first dry 48 hours we had had for a number of weeks, which enabled us to get on and mow, which was very much needed. I was pleased that we got that window.


“We are Soft ground at the moment with the rain we’ve had and the Cross Country Course would be heavy in places.


“The forecast for the next seven to 10 days remains unsettled. We will see how we go but I imagine the ground would be pretty similar for The Festival. We have been milder this year and the grass covering is good. I am pleased with where we are.”


Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.