Newbury target for Claymore

OLIVER Sherwood’s Claymore is on target for Saturday’s valuable Vodafone Gold Cup Handicap at Newbury on Saturday.

The race has attracted a high-class field despite being in close proximity to the highlight of the National Hunt season, the Cheltenham Festival.

And Claymore, the general 8-1 co-favourite of three, is well suited to the demands of the race, according to Sherwood.

“He’s a little pocket battleship and he’s come out of his last race well,” said the trainer.

“We were chuffed to bits with him last time. He jumped like an old handicapper that day, which I suppose he is now.

“He is a real tough character and if I had a yard full of his type I would be delighted. He’s a real hardened pro.

“He’s had some falls and he’s come battling back, which shows how tough he is.

“I’ve always said Newbury suits him down to the ground as he is a better horse on a flat track rather than the likes of Cheltenham. That’s why this race suits him down to the ground and Newbury and Vodafone deserve a lot of credit for staging it so close to Cheltenham because it is so valuable.

“He is entered in the Racing Post Plate at Cheltenham and, heaven forbid, if something went wrong we always have that race to fall back on.”

* Plans have been made to hold an all-weather Flat meeting at Lingfield on Saturday should the National Hunt fixture scheduled for the Surrey venue that day fall to the predicted cold snap in plenty of time.

A forecast for severe weather later this week has prompted the British Horseracing Board to take what is an unprecedented step.

An extra Flat fixture at Wolverhampton on Saturday has already been confirmed.

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