With just four weeks to go now until one of the most prestigious events of the racing season, the Cheltenham Festival, horses and their riders are training hard to make sure they’re victorious this year.
The run up to the Cheltenham Festival 2015 has had no end of controversies and scandals, with some celebrations and some let downs. For example, it was recently announced that Paul Nicholls’ Al Ferof would be missing out on not only the Cheltenham Festival this year, but also Aintree and Punchestown in April.
It’s not all bad news however, certainly for some owners – in particular, Barry Connell, who has high hopes for one horse at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. After displaying fine form in the recent Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown, Connell was quoted as saying that The Tullow Tank “deserves a crack” at this year’s event at Prestbury Park.
“I was delighted with The Tullow Tank,” said Connell. “He jumped brilliantly, as he did on his first time out over the fences. We thought we’d sorted out the issues that had been bothering him and it seems we have.”
Trained by Sandra Hughes, The Tullow Tank performed well in the Chase last Sunday, holding every chance turning into the straight before he faltered slightly, eventually being beaten by little more than eight lengths into fourth. But Connell still has high hopes for the seven-year-old.
“I’m sure he’ll come on from that as in his last two runs, he might have been in a bit of pain. He’s back to himself but he probably blew up at the last because it was his first proper run in a while. We can take a lot of positives from that going forward.”
The Tullow Tank isn’t the only racing preview that Connell has to consider however. It’s also come to light recently that he will have to make a big decision in the next fortnight – that is whether to supplement Foxrock for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Seven-year-old Foxrock, trained by Ted Walsh, was sent off favourite for the Irish Hennessy, despite recently having stepped up to Grade One Level. But while Connell has two weeks to make this decision, for now he has his eyes firmly on The Tullow Tank.
“I don’t see why he won’t handle nicer ground and while we’ll keep our options open, I don’t see why he shouldn’t head to Cheltenham.”