Cheltenham Gold cup hero Coneygree to parade at Newbury on Saturday
Coneygree, who landed the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in tremendous style on Friday, March 13, will parade at Newbury on Saturday, March 21, shortly before the Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase (3.10pm).
Trained locally to Newbury at Letcombe Bassett by Mark Bradstock, Coneygree was the first novice to win the Grade One contest for 41 years.
Coneygree scored twice at Newbury this season prior to his Cheltenham success, taking the Grade Two Fuller’s London Pride Novices’ Chase on November 28 and the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase on Betfair Super Saturday, February 7.
His stablemate and half-brother Carruthers, winner of the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, is an intended runner in the £20,000 Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase over an extended three and a quarter miles.
Mullins considering new £40,000 Doom Bar Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for Ultimate Act
Ultimate Act is under consideration for the inaugural running of the £40,000 Doom Bar Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (3.45pm) over two miles and three furlongs.
The Seamus Mullins-trained gelding has won two of his three starts over hurdles and was last seen out when making all of the running to win a juvenile handicap hurdle by four lengths at Sandown Park on March 7.
He was third to Arabian Revolution in the Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon on February 5, having beaten Alzammaar (Warren Greatrex) a neck at Warwick on January 22.
Mullins said: “I would be telling a lie if I said Ultimate Act is a definite runner because I need to go through the entries first, but he will either run this weekend or next week at Ascot
“He has come out of Sandown well and I think the handicapper has been quite fair on him. He is still improving hopefully and the step up to two miles, three furlongs will definitely suit.
“It will take a while for these new races to bed in, but they are tailor made for a horse like Ultimate Act. He was not good enough to go to Cheltenham as proved by his run at Huntingdon.
“It’s great prize money for the grade and will definitely entice me to look out for a few three/four-year-olds in the future with these races in mind.”
There are 14 entries for the Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle, including Golden Doyen (Philip Hobbs), who was a Grade Two winner at Cheltenham in November, and recent course scorer Bishop Wulstan (Harry Whittington).
Other notables include Storm Force Ten (Andrew Balding), who was fourth to subsequent JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Peace And Co at Cheltenham in January, Norse Legend (Chris Gordon) and Lil Rockerfeller (Neil King).
Newbury’s seven-race programme on Saturday also includes the £40,000 Listed EBF Stallions & TBA Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Finale (2.35pm, 27 entries), a limited handicap over two miles and five furlongs.
Kim Bailey is planning to run progressive Irish import Allez Encore. The six-year-old captured mares’ novices’ hurdles decisively at Plumpton and Bangor in February before staying on to be second under a double penalty in a similar contest at Catterick on March 4.
Bailey said: “Allez Encore definitely runs on Saturday. She has been aimed at this race for a little while now and I am very happy with her
“The step up in trip will benefit her and she seems to be going the right way. Hopefully, she can keep going up.”
The entries also feature classy Irish mare Carrigmoorna Rock (Robert Tyner), who captured a Listed contest at Newbury in November, and impressive Doncaster scorer Balmusette (Keith Reveley).
Bailey is also hoping to run the unraced Aliandy in the £50,000 DBS Spring Sales Bumper (4.20pm, 19 confirmations) over an extended two miles. Past winners include Diamond Harry (2007 & 2008) and Montbazon (2011).
The trainer added: “All being well, Aliandy will go for the bumper as well. I have not run many bumper horses yet this season but I have been happy with him. He is qualified for the race and it seemed mad not to take up the entry.”
Nicky Henderson took the spoils last year with Gaitway and could run Cultivator and Magic Bullet.