Cheltenham Festival: Sir Gerhard ‘leaning towards’ Ballymore

Cheveley Park managing director Richard Thompson says leading Cheltenham Festival contender Sir Gerhard is “leaning towards” running in the Ballymore’ Novices Hurdle over the shorter Supreme Novices’ Hurdle trip.

The seven-year-old is unbeaten over obstacles, winning his maiden hurdle before landing a Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival last month.

His sole defeat came in last season’s Champion Bumper, narrowly going down to stablemate Kilcruit, who runs in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

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Paul Townend riding Sir Gerhard to victory at Leopardstown

But while his stablemate runs over the shorter trip, Richardson has said his horse is more likely to run over the intermediate trip in the Ballymore, but stressed that no final decision has been made by trainer Willie Mullins yet.

“It’s down to Willie,” Richardson told Sky Sports Racing. “He’ll look at the final shake-up in the Supreme and he’s got other runners as well.

“He definitely can get the Ballymore trip and he can compete in both but I’m relaxed about both – it makes no difference to me personally.

“It looks like the Ballymore to me and that’s currently Willie’s approach. I think he can win either but the Supreme is the stronger race, there’s no option.

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Image:
Envoi Allen ridden by Rachael Blackmore jumps the last – he runs in the Champion Chase

“If we’re being told we can compete in both and the Ballymore is the weaker race, that’s the one we’ll go for.

Thompson also provided an update on Ryanair favourite Allaho, who will bid to defend his crown in the race on Thursday.

“He won the John Durkan and he’s a quality horse is Allaho,” he added.

Image:
Allaho clears away from his rivals to win the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham

“Last year it was perfect for him and we’ve just got to hope the race pans out. It could cut up into quite a small number of runners and he’s done nothing wrong so reports are all good.

“We’ve just got to hope the race goes for him on the day.”

Thompson also confirmed that Envoi Allen lines up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Classic Getaway is likely to run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and A Plus Tard remains on target to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, having finished second in the race last year.

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