Tullow Tank to have tilt at Ryanair Gold Cup

The Tullow Tank is being prepared for next month’s Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse following a wasted journey to the Cheltenham Festival.

Tullow Tank to have tilt at Ryanair Gold Cup

The dual Grade One-winning hurdler has endured a largely disappointing debut season over fences for Sandra Hughes, but after an improved effort when fourth at Leopardstown in February, he crossed the water for the JLT Novices’ Chase.

However, a last-minute setback scuppered his participation and owner Barry Connell is hoping for compensation over the Easter period.

He said: “He bit his tongue in Cheltenham, would you believe. It was a bit sore and we had to give him antibiotics, which meant he couldn’t run.

“He’s come back well and the plan is to go for the Ryanair Gold Cup in Fairyhouse.”

Despite The Tullow Tank’s defection, it was still a memorable week at Prestbury Park for Connell as Martello Tower struck gold in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

However, there were a couple of disappointments for the owner, most notably Foxrock after he failed to fire after being supplemented for the Ryanair Chase.

Ted Walsh’s charge was a well-beaten favourite in the National Hunt Chase 12 months ago and appears unlikely to return to the Cotswolds.

“Foxrock just doesn’t seem to handle the track in Cheltenham,” said Connell.

“He was immature when he went there last year, so we wanted to give him another chance, but I think he prefers a more galloping track.

“He’s finished for the season now.”

Connell and Walsh also combined with this year’s Kim Muir favourite Champagne James, but he could only manage seventh place.

“A lot of horses were winning from the front in Cheltenham and being held up probably didn’t suit, but he ran well,” said Connell.

“I don’t know if he’ll run again this season. He’s in the Irish Grand National, but I think he’ll struggle to get in. We’ll probably run Usuel Smurfer in that race.”

One Cheltenham also-ran Connell appears particularly excited about is Gwencily Berbas, who finished ninth in the Fred Winter.

He said: “We were delighted with him. He ran really well under a big weight. You could have thrown a blanket over the first nine or 10.

“We’ll put him away now and the plan is for him to go over fences next season. I think he’ll make a smashing chaser.”

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