Thursday 24 January 2019

McCoy wanted for Collonges

Owner John Hales is hoping Tony McCoy will be available to take the ride on Neptune Collonges in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The champion jockey was at his brilliant best when guiding the Paul Nicholls-trained grey to a thrilling all-the-way win over Tidal Bay in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month.

Neptune Collonges has in the past finished fourth, third and eighth in the Gold Cup, and Hales would like to have another crack at the blue riband prize.

Connections are also considering the John Smith's Grand National, but Hales feels his 10-year-old is not built to carry a big weight in the Aintree marathon.

"He absolutely delighted us at Cheltenham and what a ride McCoy gave him. He's the sort of jockey Neptune needs to liven him up and keep him going," said Hales.

"Hopefully if we go back for the Gold Cup, AP might be able to ride him, but we don't know yet.

"At the beginning of the season when he put in two very average performances we were targeting the Grand National.

"It all depends really on the weights because he is not a weight-bearing type of horse. He's only small and he may be close to top weight.

"He won't have a run before the Gold Cup or the National and it looks as if it will be Cheltenham.

"He's been placed twice in the Gold Cup and it was in that race he picked up a tendon injury two years ago."

Robbie Hennessy's 2007 Champion Hurdle hero Sublimity is poised to lock horns with Peddlers Cross in the Victor Chandler Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Thursday.

Donald McCain plans to run his Champion Hurdle aspirant in the race after he missed an engagement last weekend due to a minor setback, and he could yet face a decent test of his Cheltenham credentials.

Sublimity may not be the force of old and finished last in last month's Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, but Hennessy is thrilled with his star performer's condition.

"I'd say there's a good chance he'll travel over and I'm just hoping they don't get too much rain," said Hennessy.

"We have him in at Punchestown on Wednesday as well but it's going to be bottomless there, so I'd imagine he'll come over to Kelso if the ground isn't too bad.

"These sorts of conditions races are what he wants really.

"It looks as though Peddlers Cross is going to run, but what can you do?"

A total of 17 entries have been received for the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest, with McCain also leaving in Tornado Bob and Overturn, although the latter has Wincanton's Kingwell Hurdle on his agenda. Other possible runners include Orsippus, two-time course winner Tartan Snow and Howard Johnson's Scriptwriter.

Cooldine looks set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a wind problem that ruled him out of today's Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

The nine-year-old filled the runner-up spot in the prestigious Grade One 12 months ago and had been as short as 7/2 to go one better this weekend.

But Willie Mullins revealed his charge had suffered a setback and would be unable to take his place in the line up.

"An extraordinary thing has happened to Cooldine as his wind has broken, which is quite rare in horses as old as him," said Mullins.

"He worked fine on Wednesday morning and then on Thursday the wind problem was apparent.

"He's going to have to have a wind operation and, unfortunately, it looks like he's going to miss the rest of the season. It's very disappointing, but these things happen."

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