Bobs poised for weekend workout

Bobs Worth is likely to have a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Sunday as Nicky Henderson puts the finishing touches to his preparation ahead of the defence of his Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup crown.

The current champion put a lacklustre first run of the season at Haydock well behind him with a return to his best in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Henderson traditionally takes some of his Festival team to Newbury this weekend for a gallop but with the ground likely to be soft, especially after racing there on Friday and Saturday, many of his stable companions will instead head to Kempton on Friday.

The Seven Barrows handler is, however, still “leaning towards Newbury” with Bobs Worth.

He said: “Bob will definitely appear at one of those two venues over the weekend.

“He doesn’t need to do a whole heap.

“I probably might be leaning towards Newbury with him so if there is a strip of ground at Newbury it might be better for him than the all-weather as he doesn’t strike me as an all-weather horse, to be honest, but we’ll see.”

Meanwhile Ken Condon is set to saddle his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival, with Gerdago a likely starter in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Condon, who is predominantly a Flat trainer, has always had a few for the jumps, and is now set to break new ground by having his first runner at the showpiece fixture.

Gerdago booked his ticket for the Cotswolds at the weekend, running a fine race in the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse, finishing just three lengths third to Abbyssial.

The son of Aussie Rules, who won his maiden hurdle in convincing style at Navan in November, is now a general 16-1 chance for the Fred Winter on March 12.

Condon said: “He has come out of the race on Saturday well, touch wood, and we were very pleased with him, he ran a nice race.

“We gave him a break during the winter as he had been busy during the summer as well.

“Before Saturday the English handicapper had him on 130, I don’t know if that is going to be revised but off that mark he should definitely get a spot in the Fred Winter, and that is the plan.

“The owners are sporting and are willing to let him take his chance. I’ve never had a runner at the Festival, we’ve always watched it, and it is a fantastic meeting. We will just see how the English handicapper reacts to Saturday.

“He is a horse who shows a bit of consistency and the Irish handicapper has raised him 9lb for the run, so he is obviously a horse who is on the upgrade and improving a bit.

“He will need to improve further, but if he gets in off a reasonable and fair mark he should give a good account.

“The track over there should suit him, he is more a staying type of horse so the old course should suit.”


AS Joaquin Phoenix rose to the podium to collect his Academy Award for Best Actor, ears were peeled as the actor made his speech about inequality and our disconnect with the natural world.Paul McLauchlan: Leading men lead the way on Oscars red carpet

The new season blood oranges have arrived, they’ve been trickling into the shops ever since Christmas — such joy. I long for their delightful fresh taste after the rich food of the festive season.Darina Allen: Blood Oranges have a delightfully fresh taste after the rich food of winter

She’s the Cork singer dubbed the next Kate Bush, shortlisted by Universal, the world’s biggest record label, as their artist to watch in 2020. This will be the year of Lyra, writes Ed PowerLyra: Meet the new Kate Bush - and she's from Cork

For relationships to endure, we need to be loving not just on Valentine’s Day but all year round, a Buddhist teacher tells Marjorie BrennanOpen hearts: The Buddhist approach to love and loving

More From The Irish Examiner