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Rachael Blackmore confirmed for A Plus Tard Cheltenham Gold Cup ride

A Plus Tard will line-up in next week’s Cheltenham Gold Cup

Trainer Henry De Bromhead has confirmed that Rachael Blackmore will partner A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup next week. Robbie Power is set to partner defending champion Minella Indo. Last season Jack Kennedy stepped in for the ride on the winner after Blackmore chose runner-up A Plus Tard in a memorable 1-2 for the stable. Kennedy is likely to be claimed to ride for Gordon Elliott this year. De Bromhead has also started finalising plans for his Cheltenham team as he bids to follow last season’s incredible success.

De Bromhead reports Gold Cup duo in great form

De Bromhead reports Minella Indo and A Plus Tard to be in great shape ahead of next Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Minella Indo seems to reserve his best form for Prestbury Park and put his King George disappointment behind him with an encouraging run in the Irish Gold Cup. De Bromhead admits he was trying to put a square peg in a round hole by running him at Kempton.

The decision to ride A Plus Tard was about the only thing that didn’t go to plan last Spring. After scooping the top jockey at Cheltenham prize she went on to win the Grand National at Aintree aboard Minella Times. The horse was a brilliant winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock and was caught on the post by Galvin in the Savills Chase.

De Bromhead has plenty of respect for Honeysuckle’s Champion Hurdle rivals and is surprised to learn that his mare could start the shortest priced favourite in the race this century. Honeysuckle has followed the same route to Cheltenham as last year and is also in terrific shape.

Magic Daze will run in the Arkle where she could be joined by Coeur Sublime. Bob Olinger has looked a natural over fences and last season’s Ballymore winner is on course for the Turners Novices’ Chase. Telmesomethinggirl will run in the Mares’ Hurdle but no decision has been made on Envoi Allen. He is still in the Champion Chase and the Ryanair.

Put The Kettle On to take her chance in Champion Chase

If there is plenty of pressure on the Champion Hurdle, that is not the case with Put The Kettle On in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Despite winning the Arkle Trophy in 2020 and being the reigning two-mile champion, the eight-year-old mare is a 20-1 shot to defend her crown.

That is partly due to two disappointing efforts this season but also because of the quality of this year’s race. Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin is due for his eagerly awaited rematch with the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene who will be accompanied by stable companion Chacun Pour Soi. Put The Kettle On has delighted her trainer in recent work so he is hoping that she can pull off another Cheltenham surprise.

Journey With Me will run in the Ballymore rather than the Albert Bartlett where De Bromhead will rely on Shantreusse. Among his handicap entries, Ain’t That A Shame will run in the Kim Muir rather than the Ultima. Irascible, Ballyadam and Gua Du Large are being aimed at the County Hurdle and Decimation is a likely runner in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle.

De Bromhead expects to be doubly represented in the Cross Country with Poker Party and Plan Of Attack. Last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Quilixios is in the Champion and the County Hurdle but could miss the festival altogether.