Tiger looking to get on roll
With Punchestown starting their winter season this afternoon and racing again tomorrow, the jump season really begins to kick into gear this week with Cheltenham also back on Friday for their first meeting of the season.
Among the high profile names to be lining up at Cheltenham is the Gordon Elliott-trained Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll, who will begin his campaign in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle on Saturday over an extended two miles.
Elliott has also given fellow Gigginstown-owned four-year-old Clarcam an entry in the race, although he would be more unlikely to run after he won just last Sunday at Limerick and looks more likely to begin a career over fences next.
The Meath-based trainer said: "I think Tiger Roll will run in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle as long as the ground is not too soft, but Clarcam won't take part. Tiger Roll seems in good form and well in himself. It is obviously his first start of the season and you have got to start somewhere."
The going did change from good ground on Monday to good to soft yesterday with England enduring a much wetter spell since the weekend than we have in Ireland.
Meanwhile, trainer James Nash is also looking towards Cheltenham at the weekend as he prepares to send over his Kerry National winner Your Busy for the Showcase Trophy but he too is on weathter-watch.
Nash said: "The plan is to run Your Busy in the Showcase Trophy but we will just have to see how much rain they get because he wants nice ground.
"It would probably have to be good to soft or better for him to take his chance.''
The ground has also played havoc with British Champions Day at Ascot and trainer Tom Hogan is set to take a look at the track before committing to run Gordon Lord Byron.
"'I'm going to walk the track tomorrow and then I'll decide. If it's very heavy, then he won't run. We'd then be looking at Hong Kong," Hogan explained.
Bookmakers Boylesports have also revealed that the Lady Cecil-trained Noble Mission is increasingly popular for the Champion Stakes and they've now cut him into 9/2 behind Cirrus Des Aigles and Free Eagle.