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Jefferson dreaming of Gold Cup joy
MALTON trainer Malcolm Jefferson is dreaming of Gold Cup glory after Cape Tribulation followed up his Rowland Meyrick success at Wetherby on Boxing Day with another success in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last weekend under Dennis O’Regan.
Cape Tribulation’s victory continued winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson’s recent love affair with Prestbury Park, where he struck twice at last year’s festival, and although he was not making any wild predictions regarding the Gold Cup, he sees no reason why David Abell’s nine-yearold cannot make the frame.
Jefferson said: “I might be completely wrong but it could be one of those Gold Cups in which a lot of the horses might not get three and a quarter miles, and he definitely will.
“He’s in the World Hurdle as well but for me it will be the Gold Cup. It might also be easier to be placed in this year’s race, rather than running in a handicap giving a lot of weight away.”
Regarding yesterday’s thrilling win, Jefferson added: “I thought at the last we were going to be second but he’s galloped right to the line. On his day he’s a very good horse.
“He’s a very good jumper of fences, but running on bad ground last season just knocked his confidence a bit – that’s why we switched him to hurdles.”
O’Regan echoed Jefferson’s thoughts with regard to the Gold Cup, saying: “As an eachway contender, why not? I’m not surprised he won today.
The ground just helped his jumping, which has sometimes been a bit of a problem in the past, but there was no sign of that today.
“I missed the second-last but he had enough in reserve to get up. He’s an out-and-out stayer.”
Despite his narrow defeat, Imperial Commander – who was receiving 6lb from Cape Tribulation – was greeted like a winner by the Cheltenham faithful and he looks set to try to win back his crown in March.
Trainer Nigel TwistonDavies said: “He’s been beaten half a length and I’m delighted as it’s been a rush to get him ready for this. He didn’t really help himself out there because he kept pulling for his head.
“It’s six and a half weeks until the Gold Cup so we’ll take it from here. He’ll also have an entry for the Grand National.”
The new week started with plenty of all-weather action and Mark Johnston was the man to follow on Monday as the Middleham trainer had an across the card double, courtesy of Rose Ransom at Kempton and Henry The Aviator at Wolverhampton.
Henry The Aviator was making his debut and looks a smart horse in the making. He was ridden by Joe Fanning who went on to complete a fine treble on the day.
Plenty of local action coming up this weekend, starting this afternoon at Catterick with a seven race card, due under way at 1.10pm.
Tomorrow it will be very testing at Wetherby but its great that the track is set to race, with a quality looking seven-race card which is set to begin at 1pm.
The feature race is the Towton Novices Chase at 3.20pm and a small but select field will face the starter and it should prove an informative affair.
After been starved of turf racing over the last couple of weeks, hopefully it will stay dry for a while as it’s a very important time of the year for jump fans, with many of Cheltenham horses looking to have their final preparation run before the festival which is only six weeks away.