Racing Demon scores a new rider

Sam Thomas will be partnering Racing Demon at Cheltenham next month. Henrietta Knight confirms that she is confident about Sam Thomas taking up the ride, even though he has only ridden one winner for her yard this season, from 53 mounts.

Thomas will replace Timmy Murphy in the Irish Independent-sponsored contest. He has been riding Racing Demon regularly at Knight’s yard and had done all his early schooling.

Meanwhile Knight has not ruled at the possibility of Impek running at Cheltenham. The 10-year-old finished third in the King George last time and is still entered in both the Gold Cup and the Ryan Air Chase. Knight explained that the horse is in good spirits and a better horse when he is fresh.

French plan Cheltenham attack

Top French jumps trainer Arnaud Chaille-Chaille yesterday unveiled an impressive five-strong raiding party for Cheltenhem and nominated smart novice hurdler Zaiyad as his best chance of a winner.

The trainer, who is yet to saddle a Festival winner, also unveiled Oh Calin as an outsider for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, Ambobo for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, Mid Dancer for the Irish Independent and Sunspot for the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

Ouija to make star appearance

Multiple Group 1 winning mare Ouija Board (pictured) will be gracing Kempton’s new £18.8 million all-weather track next month. On 3 March the course will roll out the red carpet for the exercise in which Ouija Board is set to be partnered by regular jockey Kieren Fallon for the first time since last year.

The exercise will be watched by her owner Lord Derby and will be a seven-furlong gallop with a lead horse. Ouija Board is due to fly to Dubai on 16 March.

Sadlers Wings sidelined

Sadlers Wings will not run again this season after suffering a recurrence of a ligament problem. The eight-year-old has been sidelined since finishing fourth in the Prix la Barka at Auteuil in May 2004 and made an encouraging return in the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last month, when he finished fourth behind Brave Inca. He was destined for Cheltenham next month.

One to watch

Garvivonnian, 25-1 for the Grand National, will run at Fairyhouse on Saturday in a bid to enhance his Aintree claims. The 11-year-old won the Becher Chase over the National fences last November before finishing third in a listed chase on New Year’s Day at Tamore.

A good week for

Lucy Bridges is making good progress, having been moved to a hospital in Poole. The new ward is equipped with state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities as she continues to recover from her fall.

Bridges, 26, appeared to be kicked on the head after being thrown into the ground when riding Lincoln Place in the ladies’ open at the Silverton Hunt point-to-point at Black Forest Gate on 29 January.

She was in a coma for several days at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth , and although Bridges has made significant improvement over the last few weeks, her left arm is still paralysed and she is suffering problems with her left eye.

Now that she is in a hospital with more rehabilitation facilities and physiotherapy, it is hoped her condition will continue to improve.

A bad week for

Royal Rosa has been ruled out of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle after being scratched from the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock with a stone bruise. The 340,000 guineas purchase has been as short as 10-1 with Coral for Cheltenham but his attention will now be firmly fixed on fences in the hope that he will become a Gold Cup horse.

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