Backstage revs up for Festival

Backstage warmed up for the Cheltenham Festival with victory at Tinahely point-to-point on Sunday.

Connections of the 11-year-old, trained by Gordon Elliott, have to choose between the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase over the cross-country course and the CGA Foxhunter Chase on the regular track.

“He won a point-to-point at Tinahely. Jamie Codd rode him and had five winners on the day,” said Nick Bradley bloodstock manager to co-owners Middleham Park Racing.

“Jamie described him as being 75% fit. He won by half a length and Jamie said he blew up a little bit two out. sThe next race for him is Cheltenham. It will either be the Foxhunter or the cross-country.

“We would prefer the Foxhunter, but we will wait and see what comes out of both races.”

Connections believes Backstage would have a good chance in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 6, but he is still a long way off making the cut.

“If he got in the National he would definitely run and we’d fancy him,” said Bradley.

“We’re getting there, we just need another 25 to come out before now and then.

“If he doesn’t get in, there’s the Aintree Foxhunter. The trip might be a bit sharp for him, two-mile five, but it is the alternative.”


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