Thornton handed Somersby ride

Henrietta Knight has revealed Robert Thornton will get the leg up on Somersby in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham next month, providing Tony McCoy remains unavailable.

Henrietta Knight has revealed Robert Thornton will get the leg up on Somersby in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham next month, providing Tony McCoy remains unavailable.

The 14-times champion jockey was on board when Somersby turned in an impressive performance on his latest outing at Sandown in December, but he is currently committed to riding Captain Cee Bee in the Arkle for boss JP McManus.

As long as the situation remains the same, Thornton will ride the six-year-old on March 16 and has already been to Knight’s Wantage base to get to know his likely mount.

“The horse is very well at the moment and remains in good form,” said Knight.

“We’ve decided to book Robert Thornton for the ride, providing Tony McCoy rides Captain Cee Bee as expected.

“Tony is still first choice but as long as his horse runs, ’Choc’ will ride Somersby in the Arkle.

“He’s been the yard to have a sit on him and providing this wet weather stops, he’ll probably come and school him one day before Cheltenham.”

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