First-class Mail in Champion Chase frame

Exciting French recruit Mail De Bievre is set to be supplemented for the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next month, trainer Tom George confirmed.

First-class Mail in Champion Chase frame

Having shown impressive form in his homeland, the eight-year-old jumped superbly towards the head of affairs on his British debut in the three-mile Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury before weakening into fifth in the straight.

Although he holds an entry in the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase at the Festival, connections are now ready to stump up the required £17,500 to add him to the Champion Chase field.

“We don’t have to do anything until a week before the race so we’ll see how the horse is and everything else, but the plan is to supplement him for the Queen Mother,” said George.

“He came out of the Newbury race really well and I think he has come on a lot for the run.

“He looks fantastic and very sharp and we look forward to Cheltenham with him.

“We’re not under any pretence and we know it’s going to be an uphill struggle, but our horse does have an unbelievably high cruising speed and a good jump in him.

“I think riding him positively over two miles will be just his cup of tea.”

Trainer Colm Murphy meanwhile hopes Quito De La Roque will be back in full work this week after being ruled out of Saturday’s Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse due to lameness.

The nine-year-old, owned by the Gigginstown House Stud, was a late absentee from the Grade Two contest over three miles and a furlong.

The race was won by another Gigginstown horse Roi Du Mee that Quito De La Roque had beaten in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles last month.

“It doesn’t seem serious and hopefully we’ll have him back in action later in the week,” said the County Wexford-based Murphy.

“I’m not sure where he will run next. I didn’t look beyond the Bobbyjo.

“If he’s back on the track later this week then we’ll see what the owners want to do about him running at Cheltenham.

“He’s in the Grand National and we have options everywhere.”

Wyck Hill must recover from a cut leg if he is to stay in contention for the Cheltenham Festival and the John Smith’s Grand National.

The nine-year-old had stitches and staples put into his near-hind leg after he finished 11th of the 12 finishers in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton on Saturday.

He had been sent off the 3-1 favourite to win the valuable three-mile handicap on his first start since being bought by powerful owner JP McManus.

“At the races he had about eight stitches and about 14 staples put in his leg,” said trainer David Bridgwater.

“He was sound when he left the races, he’d had a painkiller, and he’s very sore.

“I think it’s superficial. It’s more peeled the skin back as opposed to going into the flesh, and that would be very sore.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing.

“I’m not sure where he did it. Normally he’s a very fluent jumper and he never jumped anything, so whether he did something early on, who knows?

“He’s sore, but he’ll he fine.

“The vet’s coming to see him and we’ll take it from there.”

Wyck Hill holds entries in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase and the Betfred Cheltenham Gold at the Festival next month, and is now as big as 50-1 for the National in April.

Tom George singled out the totesport Bowl at Aintree in 2011 as Nacarat’s greatest triumph as the Slad trainer reflected on the grey’s successful career.

George called time on the 12-year-old’s racing days following his fifth successive appearance in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton on Saturday.

Nacarat could not improve on his two wins and two placed efforts in the valuable three-mile handicap, trailing in last of the 12 finishers.

But George is delighted his stable stalwart has retired sound and in one piece.

He said: “Winning a Grade One was obviously his highlight.

“Everyone’s got to know him and seen a lot of him.

“He’s always been there and put in a good show for himself.”

Nacarat will remain at George’s stables for a while before going to his owner Simon Clarke’s premises in Staffordshire.

“He’s fine except he’s a bit stiff, as he would be at that age. He’s happy and looking forward to some nicer weather and going out in the paddock for a few hours,” said George.

“He’ll wind down here, then he’ll probably spend the first few weeks of the summer here then go back to his owner Simon Clarke’s home in Staffordshire.

“He’s been an absolutely incredible horse and he’s retired a sound horse as well – that’s a tribute to him.

“He’s retired injury free. He’s had no leg trouble.

“He was quite difficult when we first got him, but he’s retired sound and been a tough horse as well.”

Nacarat joined George’s team from France in the 2007-2008 season and went on to win six races in this country, netting over £480,000 in prize-money.

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