Via Galilei & Harry Tricker On Course for Greatwood
Trainer Gary Moore is set to launch a dual assault on the £100,000 Grade Three Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm), with Via Galilei (11st 2lb) and Harry Tricker (10st 1lb) due to contest the extended two-mile contest, highlight of the third day of The Open at Cheltenham, Sunday, November 13.
Via Galilei, a 16/1 chance with Coral, heads to Cheltenham after going down by half a length to the Paul Nicholls-trained Brampour (11st 11lb & 9/1 for the Greatwood Hurdle), in a Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot on October 29.
The six-year-old finished in front of the current 6/1 ante-post favourite Pateese (10st 9lb including a 5lb penalty) twice last season, when easily winning a Newbury handicap hurdle in March and taking second in the Listed Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown a week later.
Moore, who captured the Greatwood with Numide in 2008, revealed: “At the moment, both Via Galilei and Harry Tricker will definitely run in the Greatwood Hurdle. Both horses worked well this morning and I am happy with the pair of them.
“Via Galilei ran very well at Ascot but he has suffered for it, with the handicapper putting him up 8lb. He heads to Cheltenham in good form and, the better the ground, the better his chance.
“He will be meeting Brampour on slightly better terms and he beat Pateese a couple of times last season, although Pateese was very impressive when winning at Sandown on Saturday and looks the one to beat.
“Harry Tricker was second in the race two years ago but he hasn’t really found the same level of form since then. We went chasing with him last season and I don’t think that he has fully got over it.
“He has come out of the Ascot run fine but his jumping is the concern. I’d start getting excited about his chance if he got his confidence back but we will give it a go anyway.”
Other notable contenders for the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle include the Paul Flynn-trained Moon Dice (11st 6lb & 7/1 second favourite), who triumphed in this year’s Galway Hurdle, Brampour’s stable companion Domtaline (11st 2lb & 10/1) and the Nicky Henderson-trained A Media Luz (10st 9lb & 12/1).
The Open involves 18 races over three days as well as the Greatwood Charity Sweepstake, which concludes the event at 4.10pm on Sunday, November 13.
Friday is the well-established Countryside Day and features the £22,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (2.20pm), as well as the £21,500 Grade Two Opus Energy Novices’ Hurdle (2.55pm) and the £40,000 paddypower.com on Mobile Handicap Chase (1.45pm), while action off the track includes the popular stallion parade prior to racing.
Paddy Power Gold Cup Day on Saturday features the £150,000 Grade Three BetVictor Gold Cup (2.35pm), while the cracking six-race card also includes the £21,500 Grade Two JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (1.20pm) and the £40,000 Grade Three Rewards4Racing Handicap Chase (1.55pm).
Apart from the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, Sunday’s card also features the £24,000 Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1.10pm), the £21,500 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (3.30pm) and the £45,000 Shloer Steeplechase (1.45pm).
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