Major doubt overIn Compliance Gold Cup bid

IN Compliance looks almost certain to miss the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup as trainer Michael O’Brien is unhappy with the horse’s condition.

The seven-year-old, owned by Sean Mulryan and a 9-1 chance with the sponsors, has not raced since beating last season’s Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition at Punchestown in December.

“I’ve got to confirm it with the owner, but he’s more than likely not going to go,” said the Naas handler.

“I’m not that happy with him. He doesn’t seem to be firing.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do, but we’ll probably wait for the Punchestown Festival in April or something like that.”

The owner and trainer have another Gold Cup entry in Forget The Past, who was third 12 months ago, but he has an alternative objective at the Festival.

“It’s more likely that he’ll run in the Ryanair,” added O’Brien.

Meanwhile Robert Alner is hoping the current wet spell continues ahead of The Listener’s bid for Gold Cup glory.

The dashing grey has had his last two starts in Ireland, with a comprehensive victory in the Lexus Chase followed by heartbreaking defeat in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

“He’s very well indeed, I’m very happy with him and as long as it keeps raining we will be happy,” the Dorset trainer told At The Races.

“He took the travelling well both times. He came back, ate up and there was not a bother on him.

“He travelled well all the way in the Hennessy and I think he ran a better race than when he actually won.

“We had no real excuses. He just ran out of petrol in the last half a furlong. The time was four seconds faster than the Lexus and I said at the time if the race was run again we wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“As it was, I think we were always going to be at a disadvantage going to Ireland what with the travelling and being in a strange environment. It will be much more helpful being at home this time.

“It was very heavy both times in Ireland, but having said that The Listener loves it so we are hoping it is on the soft side come Gold Cup day.

“I’ve been very pleased this season with the way he has been jumping because if you remember last year he fell twice but I think that came with over confidence.”

The Listener is a 10-1 chance with the sponsors for chasing’s blue riband.

Connections of Voy Por Ustedes are not unduly worried about the prospect of soft ground at Cheltenham for their Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase hopeful.

Last season’s Arkle hero has stuck to the original plan of three races before the Festival this term but suffered a slight hiccup last time when unseating Robert Thornton in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

However, Alan King’s charge had impressed in winning the Desert Orchid Chase before that and will now attempt to land the Queen Mother-Arkle double last achieved by Azertyuiop in 2003-04.

“Voy Por Ustedes will not mind the soft ground that much as he can act on it. He does like to bounce along on the ground a little bit but it wouldn’t hamper him too much,” said Barry Simpson, racing manager to owner Sir Robert Ogden.

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