Armageddon ready for Cheltenham test

Our Armageddon is set to make his long-awaited return in the £110,000 (€161,000) Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month.

Our Armageddon is set to make his long-awaited return in the £110,000 (€161,000) Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month.

The eight-year-old was sidelined for the whole of last season with a tendon injury and has not been since finishing fourth in a novice chase at Aintree in April 2004.

Our Armageddon had previously won the Cathcart Chase at the Festival meeting and trainer Richard Guest is now planning to give the Sky Chase gelding a racecourse gallop at the weekend in preparation for the Cheltenham feature.

Guest said: “As long as he stays in one piece, Our Armageddon is a definite runner.

“It’s been his target for five months. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get a run into him yet but I’m hoping to give him a gallop at Newcastle on Saturday.

“It’s his first run back and it’s going to be a tall order to win the race.”

Our Armageddon is one of a record 52 entries for the race which commemorates the late Labour MP and racing enthusiast Robin Cook, who died earlier this year.

The two-mile-five-furlong event, sponsored by totesport, has attracted a strong entry from the Martin Pipe yard, including recent Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Our Vic.

If the seven-year-old lines up he will be trying to become only the third horse to complete the big-race double after Senor El Betrutti in 1997 and Pegwell Bay in 1988.

Pipe could also be represented by Celestial Gold, It Takes Time, Locksmith, Polar Red, Tango Royal, Therealbandit and Whispered Secret.

Philip Hobbs landed this contest, then known as the Gold Cup, last year with Monkerhostin and has entered that chaser again along with Lacdoudal and JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Made In Japan.

Other trainers well represented include Jonjo O’Neill and Paul Nicholls, who each have seven entries to choose from with O’Neill’s possibles including recent Cheltenham winner Bold Bishop.

Nicholls could rely on last year’s runner-up Thisthatandtother, while Nicky Henderson has entered previous race winners Fondmort (2002) and Iris Royal (2003).

The sole Irish-trained entry is Noel Meade’s Sir Oj, who was fourth to King Harald in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase last season.

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