Festival options for Turpin

Nicky Richards has yet to decide on the Cheltenham Festival target for improving chaser Turpin Green.

The seven-year-old showed his worth when narrowly beaten by Napolitain in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown, a race he would surely have won had he not nearly refused at the last.

That was a huge improvement after he disappointed on his penultimate start at Kelso – a race that came 10 days after his debut victory over fences at Carlisle.

Richards is happy with Turpin Green’s current well-being and will now devise a gameplan at the Festival, which could see him go for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase or the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase.

“Turpin Green’s had a bit of a hit-and-miss season up to now, but the Sandown run proved he was back in good form,” said the Greystoke handler.

“We are not sure which race he’ll run in yet but it will either be the Jewson Novices’ Handicap or the SunAlliance. I’m quite sure he’ll be very competitive in either.

“He jumped better at Sandown and with the pace he showed he wouldn’t be out of place in the Jewson.

“He’s never been to Cheltenham before but he’s handled everywhere else fine and I’d be surprised if he didn’t handle it.”

Turpin Green’s owner Trevor Hemmings has another leading SunAlliance possible in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Our Ben.

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