All National Hunt trainers dream of having big-race winners at the Cheltenham Festival meeting and those based in Scotland are no different.
In 2021 the biggest meeting of the season was dominated by Irish-trained horses. Hopefully those travelling down from Scotland can have success this year. Here are some of the best chances for Scottish trainers.
Ahoy Senor – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Grade One winning hurdler Ahoy Senor has shown a lot of promise in his novice chase campaign. Last season’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle winner broke his maiden over fences in a Grade Two contest at Newbury, scoring by 31 lengths.
Trained by Lucinda Russell at Arlary House Stables in Kinross, Ahoy Senor goes into the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase with a big chance. For those who bet on horse racing, his odds are 12/1 for the novice race which features on day two of the meeting.
Russell’s chaser does need to reverse the form with Bravemansgame. Paul Nicholls’ runner finished ahead of him at Kempton on Boxing Day in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. A couple of mistakes over his fences in that Grade One contest did not help the Scottish-trained horse. If he sharpens up his jumping, he will be one of the runners in the mix at the finish.
Doyen Breed – National Hunt Challenge Cup
In his three outings over fences so far, Doyen Breed has not been outside of the front two. Sandy Thomson’s gelding remains open to improvement which will give his connections a lot of confidence ahead of the National Hunt Challenge Cup.
The 3m6f contest is the longest race of the week at the Cheltenham Festival and is open to novice chasers. Stamina is obviously tested in this race, especially with the uphill finished at the end of the race.
Doyen Breed got off the mark over fences at the first time at Hexham over 3m. He was very game at the back end of that contest. On his most recent appearance, he finished second in a Grade Two affair at Warwick which was won by Threeunderthrufive. Thomson’s horse has plenty of class, if he stays the distance, he should be in contention.
Corach Rambler – National Hunt Challenge Cup
The Ultima Handicap Chase was thought to be the key target for Corach Rambler this season but Russell’s chaser now looks to be set for the National Hunt Challenge Cup.
Russell, a former winner of the Grand National at Aintree, has had one big race win at the Cheltenham Festival so far in her career. She saddled Brindisi Breeze before he won the 2012 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Corach Rambler has been successful over fences at Aintree and Cheltenham this season. The latter came back in December when he won a six-runner contest over the extended 3m1f trip. On his latest appearance, he finished fourth of 15 runners in the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. It was another respectable run from the Scottish-based horse in the Grade Three race.
This year’s Cheltenham Festival takes place from March 15 to March 18. A Scottish winner would be a great achievement for all those involved in National Hunt racing in Scotland.