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Bostons an Unlikely Runner in Cheltenham Gold Cup
20/02/12

It comes as no real surprise to learn that after running poorly in the Grade 1 Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in mid-February, Jessica Harrington’s Bostons Angel is now most unlikely to take his chance in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 16, writes Elliot Slater.

Bostons Angel
© Racehorse Photos

Bostons Angel

Things have gone somewhat pear-shaped this term for the horse who last year carried all before him in winning three successive Grade 1 contests; the Fort Leney Novice Chase and the Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase (both at Leopardstown), before producing a tremendous performance to hold Jessies Dream by a neck in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March. Those following the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting may have been expecting him to take on the big race.

Expected to be a major contender for honours this term, things got off to a bad start when the gelded son of Winged Love unseated his rider when still in touch at the fifth from home in the Grade 1 JNwine.com Chase at Down Royal won by Quito De La Roque, and he then let the side down badly when expected to win a Sandown listed Chase in December but could only finish a modest third to the surprise winner, Golan Way.

Despite those reverses Bostons Angel, (equipped with first-time cheek-pieces), was sent off a 3/1 second favourite for the Irish Hennessy but was soon found wanting when the pace quickened and eventually trailed in a well beaten sixth of the seven runners behind the Willie Mullins-trained Quel Esprit. Harrington is at a loss to explain just what it is that has caused the loss of form in her star chaser, but it may quite simply be that the three hard-fought victories at the highest level last term have left their mark on the eight-year-old.

A 50/1 shot in the ante-post list for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Harrington has suggested that a bid for the Ladbrokes.com Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in April might end up being the main target for her charge this season.


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