Hughes eyes Gold Cup for Lyreen Legend

Trainer Dessie Hughes is likely to run Lyreen Legend in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup rather than in the Ryanair Chase.

Second to Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase 12 months ago, he was expected to make up in to a viable Gold Cup contender this season.

However, a minor problem delayed his comeback until the Lexus in December, when a respectable fifth, after which he was slightly disappointing in the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown.

It had been mooted that Lyreen Legend could drop in trip for the Ryanair, but Hughes is leaning in the opposite direction.

“I think we’re going to go for the Gold Cup,” said the Co Kildare handler.

“It looked like he got every yard of the trip in the RSA last year.

“Hopefully better ground will help him.”

Cheltenham is not a lucky place for Charlie Longsdon but the trainer has high hopes for stable star Pendra at the Festival.

Despite being one of the most promising new names on the scene, Longsdon is only one from 67 runners at the track over the last five seasons and Pendra was very disappointing when favourite for last season’s Coral Cup.

Now going over fences, JP McManus’ gelding won his first two starts before a moderate effort in a better event at Ascot in December.

“Hopefully he’s my best chance,” said Longsdon.

“Going up to two and a half miles will be the best for him, he has an entry over three miles but the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase is the obvious chance for him.”


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