You are viewing the content for Friday 24 February 2006

Gold Cup still an option for Impek

By Chris Wilson
HENRIETTA KNIGHT has not ruled out the possibility of Impek lining up in for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next month.

The 10-year-old, who finished third behind Kicking King in the Stan James King George VI Chase, is still entered in both the blue riband over three and a quarter miles and the Ryanair Chase over two miles, five furlongs.

And while the latter remains the 10-year-old’s more likely assignment, Knight will liaise with Impek’s owner Jim Lewis before committing to either race.

"He’s very well and a better horse when he’s fresh so I’d hope he’s in good form when he runs at Cheltenham," said the West Lockinge handler.

"We have not decided about the Ryanair or the Gold Cup so it’s still a possibility he could go for the longer distance.

"Terry (Biddlecombe) tells me he’ll stay the distance in the Gold Cup but we’d have to wait and see and consult with Jim Lewis first."

Knight has no qualms about giving Sam Thomas the chance to shine aboard Racing Demon at the Cheltenham Festival.

Thomas looks set to replace Timmy Murphy in the Irish Independent Arkle as the latter is likely to be claimed by owner David Johnson for Don’t By Shy in the two-mile contest.

Although Knight has gone out of her way to partner Murphy with Racing Demon on his three chase starts to date, she is convinced she has a tailor-made deputy for Cheltenham.

"Sam comes down here every week and has ridden the horse regularly throughout the season," said Knight.

"He’s done all his early schooling with him and knows the horse extremely well.

"He’s a very good horseman and has a very sensible head and happens to get on well with horses.

"We are quite happy to use Timmy when he’s not claimed by David Johnson and Sam when he’s not with Venetia Williams."

Racing Demon is Ladbrokes’ 4-1 market leader on the back of his three impressive victories over fences.

The six-year-old is "90% certain" to take his chance in the Arkle, but Knight also holds ambitions her gelding will at some stage make a successful transition competing over three miles.

"At this stage he can go at most trips but he will be a three-mile horse," she said.

"The Arkle has turned up a lot of horses who are three-milers for the future - War Of Attrition and Kicking King ran in the Arkle and they are now stayers.

"He is still left in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase and the Ryanair Chase, but a lot would have to happen to sway us at this stage."