Foly Pleasant, representing the yard of Henrietta Knight, is having a ‘feeler’ on behalf of his more illustrious stable companion, Best Mate against possible Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders in the Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
And the information he takes back to West Lockinge should to be highly encouraging as Foly Pleasant is expected to prove himself superior to this field of five, all possible Gold Cup rivals of Best Mate.
Foly Pleasant, considered some way behind Best Mate, won the Ladbroke Chase on this day last year and will be even better suitedby the longer trip of the ‘Pillar’. Strictly on Thomas Pink Gold Cup running he should not beat Cyfor Malta but I fancy the best has yet to be seen of this nine-year-old.
Foly Pleasant also holds the Gold Cup engagement, but victory here would hand out yet another compliment to the brilliant Best Mate.
Bacchanal wears blinkers for the first time to see if they eradicate his tendency to jump out to the right.
Gingembre, winner of the 2001 Scottish National, finished second to Be MyRoyal in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but has been suffering from a lung infection and Valley Henry will be testing the water to see if he is Gold Cup caliber.
Saintsaire, from the Bacchanal stable of Nicky Henderson, lived up to his loftyreputation with an easy Newbury debut and should lay further claim to serious consideration for the Triumph Hurdle in March with another victory in the Wragge & Co Juvenile Hurdle.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Shamawan is expected to beat a highly competitive field for the Ladbroke Trophy, while Classified, representing the Martin Pipe-Tony McCoy combination, cannot be opposed in the Cleeve Hurdle.
Sue Nock, who trains a few horses down the road from Cheltenham, forsakes her local meeting to take Tom Costalot to Doncaster with winning prospects in the Great Yorkshire Chase.